In Brazil ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ and ‘Ca. L. americanus’ cause huanglongbing (also known as greening), the most destructive citrus disease. A shift in pathogen prevalence was observed over time, with a disproportional increase in ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ occurrence. Graft transmission experiments were used for a comparative study of both species using budsticks from symptomatic branches of field-affected trees as inoculum. The plants were inoculated with ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ or ‘Ca. L. americanus’ alone, or simultaneously with both species. Symptom manifestation and conventional and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were used for plant evaluations. ‘Ca. L. americanus’ was detected mainly in symptomatic plants and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ was detected in symptomatic plants as well as in infected plants prior to symptom manifestation. Transmission percentages varied from 54.7 to 88.0% for ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ and 10.0 to 45.2% for ‘Ca. L. americanus’ in two experiments. In co-inoculated plants, 12.9% contained ‘Ca. L. americanus’ only, 40.3% contained ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ only, and 19.3% contained both species. Average bacterial titers for ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ and ‘Ca. L. americanus’, in log cells per gram of leaf midrib, were 6.42 and 4.87 for the experimental plants and 6.67 and 5.74 for the field trees used as the source of inoculum. The higher bacterial populations of the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected plants provided an explanation for the disproportional increase in field prevalence of this species over time, based on the greater likelihood for pathogen transmission by the insect vector.
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow shoot disease (i.e., greening disease) is highly destructive to citrus production worldwide. Understanding the etiology of HLB is critical for managing the disease. HLB is currently associated with infection by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter spp.’ around the world, including China. However, Koch's postulates have not been fulfilled. In addition, other plant pathogens also may be involved in HLB. In a survey performed in Guangdong Province, P. R. China in 2006 and 2007, 141 citrus samples showing typical symptoms of HLB from 11 different cities were collected. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using phytoplasma-specific primer sets fU5/rU3 nested with primer set P1/P7 identified 110 (78.0%) positive samples. A 1,785-bp amplicon was obtained with primer set P1/P7. Analysis showed a 100% identity of this sequence in the region of 16S rDNA and 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer to three strains of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’ (onion yellows [Japan], aster yellows ‘watercress’ [Hawaii], and valeriana yellows [Lithuania]). Of the 141 samples, 89 (63.1%) samples were positive for ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’. When mixed infection was considered, 69 (48.9%) samples were positive for both ‘Ca. P. asteris’ and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed low titers of both walled and wall-less bodies in the phloem sieve tubes of HLB citrus. When transmission from symptomatic citrus to periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) via dodder (Cuscuta campestris) was conducted, both phytoplasma and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ were detected from the affected periwinkle. In addition to yellowing/mottling, the infected periwinkle showed symptoms of virescence and phyllody which are commonly associated with phytoplasmal diseases. TEM analysis of affected periwinkle revealed pleomorphic and wall-less organisms, characteristic of phytoplasmas, filling some phloem sieve tubes. In contrast, walled bacteria were at low titer. This study showed that in addition to ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’, a phytoplasma related to ‘Ca. P. asteris’ could also be detected in citrus showing HLB symptoms in Guangdong.
In São Paulo State, Brazil, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter americanus’ and ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ are associated with huanglongbing (HLB). Affected municipalities occur mainly in the central and southern regions, where the annual number of hours above 30°C is two to five times lower than that in the extreme northern and western regions. The influence of temperature on sweet orange trees infected with ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ or ‘Ca. L. americanus’ was studied in temperature-controlled growth chambers. Symptom progression on new shoots of naturally infected and experimentally graft-inoculated symptomatic sweet orange trees was assessed. Mottled leaves developed on all infected trees at 22 to 24°C, but not on any ‘Ca. L. americanus’–infected trees at 27 to 32°C. Quantitative, real time-PCR was used to determine the liberibacter titers in the trees. After 90 days, ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’–infected trees had high titers at 32 and 35°C, but not at 38°C, while ‘Ca. L. americanus’–infected trees had high titers at 24°C, but at 32°C the titers were very low or the liberibacters could not be detected. Thus, the multiplication of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ is not yet affected at 35°C, while a temperature of 32°C is detrimental to ‘Ca. L. americanus’. Thus, ‘Ca. L. americanus’ is less heat tolerant than ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’. The uneven distribution of these two liberibacters in São Paulo State might be in relation with these results.
The cold-water coral
(Scleractinia, Caryophylliidae) is a key species in the formation of cold-water reefs, which are among the most diverse deep-sea ecosystems. It occurs in two color varieties: white and red. Bacterial communities associated with
have been investigated in recent years, but the role of the associated bacteria remains largely obscure. This study uses catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization to detect the in situ location of specific bacterial groups on coral specimens from the Trondheimsfjord (Norway). Two tissue-associated groups were identified: (i) bacteria on the host's tentacle ectoderm, “
Mycoplasma corallicola,” are flasklike, pointed cells and (ii) endoderm-associated bona fide TM7 bacteria form long filaments in the gastral cavity. These tissue-bound bacteria were found in all coral specimens from the Trondheimsfjord, indicating a closer relationship with the coral compared to bacterial assemblages present in coral mucus and gastric fluid.
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB), or greening disease, is strongly associated with any of three nonculturable gram-negative bacteria belonging to ‘Candidatus Liberibacter spp.’ ‘Ca. Liberibacter spp.’ are transmitted by citrus psyllids to all commercial cultivars of citrus. The diseases can be lethal to citrus and have recently become widespread in both São Paulo, Brazil, and Florida, United States, the locations of the largest citrus industries in the world. Asiatic HLB, the form of the disease found in Florida, is associated with ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ and is the subject of this report. The nonculturable nature of the pathogen has hampered research and little is known about the distribution of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in infected trees. In this study, we have used a quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay to systematically quantify the distribution of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ genomes in tissues of six species of citrus either identified in the field during survey efforts in Florida or propagated in a greenhouse in Beltsville, MD. The populations of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ inferred from the distribution of 16S rDNA sequences specific for ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in leaf midribs, leaf blades, and bark samples varied by a factor of 1,000 among samples prepared from the six citrus species tested and by a factor of 100 between two sweet orange trees tested. In naturally infected trees, above-ground portions of the tree averaged 1010 ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ genomes per gram of tissue. Similar levels of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ genomes were observed in some but not all root samples from the same plants. In samples taken from greenhouse-inoculated trees, levels of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ genomes varied systematically from 104 genomes/g at the graft inoculation site to 1010 genomes/g in some leaf petioles. Root samples from these trees also contained ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ at 107 genomes/g. In symptomatic fruit tissues, ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ genomes were also readily detected and quantified. The highest levels of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in fruit tissues were found in the locular membranes and septa (108 genomes/g), with 100-fold lower levels of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in the meso and pericarp of such fruit. Our results demonstrate both the ubiquitous presence of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in symptomatic citrus trees as well as great variation between individual trees and among samples of different tissues from the same trees. Our methods will be useful in both the management and scientific study of citrus HLB, also known as citrus greening disease.