‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) causes disease symptoms and economic losses in potato, tomato, and other solanaceous crops in North America. Lso is transmitted to plants by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, which occurs as distinct haplotypes named western, central, and northwestern that differ in the presence or absence of the bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia. Previous work showed that all three vector haplotypes can transmit Lso, but it was not clear whether acquisition and transmission rates of Lso were equal among the haplotypes. The goal of our study was to compare Lso infection rates among psyllids of the western, central, and northwestern haplotypes. Using data collected from several years of periodic testing of Lso infection of laboratory-reared potato psyllid colonies, we showed that psyllids of the western and central haplotypes are more likely to harbor Lso than are psyllids of the northwestern haplotype. We then used greenhouse assays to demonstrate that psyllids of the northwestern haplotype are less likely to acquire and transmit Lso than those of the western haplotype. Lso infection rates corresponded with Wolbachia infection among the three psyllid haplotypes. The Wolbachia-infected central and western haplotypes were more likely to harbor and transmit Lso than the Wolbachia-free northwestern haplotype. Results demonstrate that potato psyllids of the western and central haplotypes pose a greater risk for spread of Lso in crops and suggest a pattern between infection with Lso and Wolbachia in potato psyllid.
The beet leafhopper, Circulifer tenellus, is an important pest of agricultural crops in the United States, where it transmits Beet curly top virus, Beet leafhopper-transmitted virescence agent phytoplasma and Spiroplasma citri to numerous crops, affecting yield and quality. Each of these pathogens have been linked to serious disease outbreaks within Washington State in the past century. To mitigate the risk of disease, growers target the beet leafhopper in their insect pest management programs. Knowledge of pathogen prevalence in beet leafhopper populations could help growers make better management decisions, but timely diagnostics is required. Four new assays were developed for the rapid detection of the beet leafhopper-associated pathogens. These include two assays that detect Beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (a PCR and a real-time PCR SYBR green assay), a duplex PCR assay that simultaneously detects Beet curly top virus and Spiroplasma citri, and a multiplex real-time PCR assay for the simultaneous detection of all three pathogens. The screening of dilution series generated from plant total nucleic acid extracts with these new assays typically led to detection at levels 10- to 100-fold more sensitive than the conventional PCR assays currently used. These new tools will allow the rapid detection of beet leafhopper-associated pathogens in both plant and insect specimens and will have the potential to be used in diagnostic laboratories seeking to disseminate fast, accurate results to growers for implementation in their insect pest monitoring programs.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) is the causal agent of zebra chip of potato (Solanum tuberosum), which can significantly reduce potato yield. In this study, a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for the detection of Lso haplotypes A and B was developed and evaluated. Two sets of LAMP primers named LAMP-A and LAMP-B were designed and tested for specificity and sensitivity. Both LAMP-A and LAMP-B were specific to Lso in in silico analysis using the Primer-Blast tool. The LAMP-A and LAMP-B could only produce positive signals from DNA mixtures of Lso-infected tomato but not from the genomic DNA of 37 nontarget plant pathogens. The sensitivity of LAMP-A and LAMP-B on Lso haplotypes A and B were tested on gBlocks and genomic DNA from Lso-infected tomato. On the genomic DNA for LAMP-A, the lowest amount of template DNA for a positive LAMP reaction was 2 to 20 ng on four haplotype A strains and 20 to 80 ng on four haplotype B strains; for LAMP-B, the lowest amount of template DNA for a positive LAMP reaction was 0.02 to 2 ng on four haplotype B strains and 20 ng to no amplification on four haplotype A strains. On gBlocks for LAMP-A, the lowest number of copies for a positive LAMP reaction was 60 on haplotype A and 600 on haplotype B; for LAMP-B, the lowest number of copies for a positive LAMP reaction was 60 on haplotype B and 600 on haplotype A. Therefore, considering the convenience of the LAMP technique, as well as the high specificity and sensitivity, the LAMP-A and LAMP-B primers can be used together to test the probable Lso-infected plant or psyllid samples to rapidly, accurately, and directly differentiate haplotypes A and B. We highly recommend this LAMP system to plant pathology practitioners and diagnostic labs for routine detection of Lso and confirmation of zebra chip disease on potato or tomato.
Zebra chip (ZC) disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum) is associated with infection by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso). Two haplotypes of Lso—A and B—occur in the United States. Lso haplotype B is more virulent than haplotype A, causing greater disease incidence in tubers, more severe symptoms, and greater loss in tuber yield. This study assessed whether tubers from infected plants generate new infected plants the following year. The effects of both Lso haplotypes A and B on tuber resprout were examined on five potato cultivars. When compared with noninfected tubers, overall plant emergence rate from Lso A- or B-infected tubers was lower, plants emerged slower, and plants generated lower daughter tuber yields in weight and quantity. Plants generally emerged poorly from Lso B-infected tubers and produced lower daughter tuber yields than Lso A-infected tubers. Regardless of Lso treatment, all daughter tubers were asymptomatic, and only 0.3% tested positive for Lso in experiments conducted over 2 years. This suggests that plants generated from Lso A- and Lso B-infected seed potatoes with severe ZC symptoms are likely not a significant source of Lso in potato fields.