Dickeya species are causal agents of soft rot diseases in many economically important crops, including soft rot disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum). Using random barcode transposon-site sequencing (RB-TnSeq), we generated genome-wide mutant fitness profiles of Dickeya dadantii 3937, Dickeya dianthicola ME23, and Dickeya dianthicola 67-19 isolates collected after passage through several in vitro and in vivo conditions. Tubers from the potato cultivars “Atlantic”, “Dark Red Norland”, and “Upstate Abundance” provided highly similar conditions for bacterial growth. Using the homolog detection software PyParanoid, we matched fitness values for orthologous genes in the three bacterial strains. Direct comparison of fitness among the strains highlighted shared and variable traits important for growth. Bacterial growth in minimal medium required many metabolic traits that were also essential for competitive growth in planta, such as amino acid, carbohydrate, and nucleotide biosynthesis. Growth in tubers specifically required the pectin degradation gene kduD. Disruption in three putative DNA-binding proteins had strain-specific effects on competitive fitness in tubers. Though the Soft Rot Pectobacteriaceae can cause disease with little host specificity, it remains to be seen the extent to which strain-level variation impacts virulence.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.16.460530