Genetic diversity of European phytoplasmas of the 16SrV taxonomic group and proposal of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma rubi’

Malembic-Maher et al. (2011). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 61 (9)
Names (1)
Ca. Phytoplasma rubi
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics General Medicine Microbiology
In addition to the grapevine flavescence dorée phytoplasmas, other members of taxonomic group 16SrV phytoplasmas infect grapevines, alders and species of the genera Clematis and Rubus in Europe. In order to investigate which phytoplasmas constitute discrete, species-level taxa, several strains were analysed by comparing their 16S rRNA gene sequences and a set of five housekeeping genes. Whereas 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity values were >97.5 %, the proposed threshold to distinguish two ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ taxa, phylogenetic analysis of the combined sequences of the tuf, rplV-rpsC, rplF-rplR, map and uvrB-degV genetic loci showed that two discrete phylogenetic clusters could be clearly distinguished. The first cluster grouped flavescence dorée (FD) phytoplasmas, alder yellows (AldY) phytoplasmas, Clematis (CL) phytoplasmas and the Palatinate grapevine yellows (PGY) phytoplasmas. The second cluster comprised Rubus stunt (RS) phytoplasmas. In addition to the specificity of the insect vector, the Rubus stunt phytoplasma contained specific sequences in the 16S rRNA gene. Hence, the Rubus stunt phytoplasma 16S rRNA gene was sufficiently differentiated to represent a novel putative taxon: ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma rubi’.
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