Rhizoviticin is an alphaproteobacterial tailocin that mediates biocontrol of grapevine crown gall disease

Tomoya Ishii, Natsuki Tsuchida, Niarsi Merry Hemelda, Kirara Saito, Jiyuan Bao, Megumi Watanabe, Atsushi Toyoda, Takehiro Matsubara, Mayuko Sato, Kiminori Toyooka, Nobuaki Ishihama, Ken Shirasu, Hidenori Matsui, Kazuhiro Toyoda, Yuki Ichinose, Tetsuya Hayashi, Akira Kawaguchi, Yoshiteru Noutoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Tailocins are headless phage tail structures that mediate interbacterial antagonism. Although the prototypical tailocins, R- and F-pyocins, in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and other predominantly R-type tailocins have been studied, their presence in Alphaproteobacteria remains unexplored. Here, we report the first alphaproteobacterial F-type tailocin, named rhizoviticin, as a determinant of the biocontrol activity of Allorhizobium vitis VAR03-1 against crown gall. Rhizoviticin is encoded by a chimeric prophage genome, one providing transcriptional regulators and the other contributing to tail formation and cell lysis, but lacking head formation genes. The rhizoviticin genome retains a nearly intact early phage region containing an integrase remnant and replication-related genes critical for downstream gene transcription, suggesting an ongoing transition of this locus from a prophage to a tailocin-coding region. Rhizoviticin is responsible for the most antagonistic activity in VAR03-1 culture supernatant against pathogenic A. vitis strain, and rhizoviticin deficiency resulted in a significant reduction in the antitumorigenic activity in planta. We identified the rhizoviticin-coding locus in eight additional A. vitis strains from diverse geographical locations, highlighting a unique survival strategy of certain Rhizobiales bacteria in the rhizosphere. These findings advance our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of tailocins and provide a scientific foundation for employing rhizoviticin-producing strains in plant disease control.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberwrad003
JournalThe ISME journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2024


  • Allorhizobium vitris
  • Alphaproteobacteria
  • biocontrol
  • crown gall disease
  • grapevine
  • interbacterial antagonism
  • phage tail-like bacteriocin
  • tailocin


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