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Science 318 (5850): 648-651

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Bacterial Effector Acts as a Plant Transcription Factor and Induces a Cell Size Regulator

Sabine Kay,1 Simone Hahn,1 Eric Marois,1* Gerd Hause,2 Ulla Bonas1{dagger}

Abstract: Pathogenicity of many Gram-negative bacteria relies on the injection of effector proteins by type III secretion into eukaryotic cells, where they modulate host signaling pathways to the pathogen's benefit. One such effector protein injected by Xanthomonas into plants is AvrBs3, which localizes to the plant cell nucleus and causes hypertrophy of plant mesophyll cells. We show that AvrBs3 induces the expression of a master regulator of cell size, upa20, which encodes a transcription factor containing a basic helix-loop-helix domain. AvrBs3 binds to a conserved element in the upa20 promoter via its central repeat region and induces gene expression through its activation domain. Thus, AvrBs3 and likely other members of this family provoke developmental reprogramming of host cells by mimicking eukaryotic transcription factors.

1 Institute of Biology, Department of Genetics, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Weinbergweg 10, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.
2 Biozentrum, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Weinbergweg 22, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.

* Present address: Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS Unité Propre de Recherche 9022, 15 rue René Descartes, F-67084 Strasbourg, France.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ulla.bonas{at}

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