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The nonprotein amino acid γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most abundant amino acid in the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaf apoplast and is synthesized by Arabidopsis thaliana in response to infection by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (hereafter called DC3000). High levels of exogenous GABA have previously been shown to repress the expression of the type III secretion system (T3SS) in DC3000, resulting in reduced elicitation of the hypersensitive response (HR) in the nonhost plant tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). This study demonstrates that the GABA permease GabP provides the primary mechanism for GABA uptake by DC3000 and that the gabP deletion mutant ΔgabP is insensitive to GABA-mediated repression of T3SS expression. ΔgabP displayed an enhanced ability to elicit the HR in young tobacco leaves and in tobacco plants engineered to produce increased levels of GABA, which supports the hypothesis that GABA uptake via GabP acts to regulate T3SS expression in planta. The observation that P. syringae can be rendered insensitive to GABA through loss of gabP but that gabP is retained by this bacterium suggests that GabP is important for DC3000 in a natural setting, either for nutrition or as a mechanism for regulating gene expression. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Plant Microbe Interact

Publication Date





938 - 949


Amino Acid Transport Systems, Arabidopsis, Bacterial Proteins, Lycopersicon esculentum, Plant Diseases, Plant Leaves, Pseudomonas syringae, Sequence Deletion, Tobacco, Type III Secretion Systems, Virulence, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid