Pseudomonas fuscovaginae, first reported from Japan in 1976, is now present in many agroecological regions around the world; it causes sheath brown rot of rice and is reported as a pathogen of a broad range of hosts. The pathogen can infect rice plants at all stages of growth and is known to cause significant losses due to grain discoloration, poor spike emergence and panicle sterility. Limited information is available on the virulence and mechanisms of pathogenicity for P. fuscovaginae. To address this, an analysis of genomes was conducted, which identified the presence of a gene showing homology to one of the genes contributing to syringopeptin synthetase (sypA) of P. syringae pv. syringae. To study the potential role of this gene in the virulence and pathogenicity of P. fuscovaginae, a site-specific mutation was created. Following inoculation of seeds and plantlets of rice and wheat with P. fuscovaginae wild types and their respective mutants, we demonstrated that the mutation significantly reduced virulence. This was evident on rice and wheat inoculated with mutants causing a significantly higher number of roots, length of roots and seedling height compared with their respective wild types. Characteristic disease symptoms of necrotic lesions were significantly less in rice seedlings infected with bacterial suspensions of mutants indicating a reduction in virulence. Chromatography analysis of bacterial exudates showed suppression of synthesis of metabolites analogous to syringopeptin in the mutants. These data demonstrate that the protein encoded by this sypA homolog gene is a major virulence determinant of P. fuscovaginae.