In planta transcriptomics reveals conflicts between pattern-triggered immunity and the AlgU sigma factor regulon

In previous work, we determined the transcriptomic impacts of flg22 pre-induced Pattern Triggered Immunity (PTI) in Arabidopsis thaliana on the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pto). During PTI exposure we observed expression patterns in Pto reminiscent of those previously observed in a Pto algU mutant. AlgU is a conserved extracytoplasmic function sigma factor which has been observed to regulate over 950 genes in Pto in growth media. We sought to identify the AlgU regulon when the bacteria are inside the plant host and which PTI-regulated genes overlapped with AlgU-regulated genes. In this study, we analyzed transcriptomic data from RNA-sequencing to identify the AlgU regulon (while in the host) and its relationship with PTI. Our results showed that the upregulation of 224 genes while inside the plant host require AlgU, while another 154 genes are downregulated dependent on AlgU in Arabidopsis during early infection. Both stress response and virulence-associated genes were upregulated in a manner dependent on AlgU, while the flagellar motility genes are downregulated in a manner dependent on AlgU. Under the pre-induced PTI condition, more than half of these AlgU-regulated genes have lost induction/suppression in contrast to mock treated plants, and almost all function groups regulated by AlgU were affected by PTI.