Ribosomal gene sequences were obtained from bryozoans in the genus
and their bacterial symbionts; analyses of host and symbiont phylogenetic trees did not support a history of strict cospeciation. Symbiont-derived compounds known to defend host larvae from predation were only detected in two out of four symbiotic
In recent years, lily (Lilium spp.) has become an important ornamental crop in diverse regions of Mexico. Since 2005, unusual symptoms have been observed on lily plants grown from imported bulbs in both greenhouse and production plots at San Pablo Ixayo, Boyeros, and Tequexquinauac, Mexico State. Symptoms included a zigzag line pattern on leaves, dwarfism, enlargement of stems, shortened internodes, leaves without petioles growing directly from bulbs, air bulbils, death of young roots, atrophy of flower buttons, and flower abortion. Symptoms were experimentally reproduced on healthy lily plants by graft inoculation. Total DNA was extracted from 50 diseased, 10 symptomless, and 10 graft-inoculated plants by the method of Dellaporta et al. (2). DNA samples were analyzed for phytoplasma presence by two different nested PCR assays. One assay employed ribosomal RNA gene primer pair P1/P7 followed by R16F2n/R16R2 (1), whereas ribosomal protein (rp) gene primer pairs rpF1/rpR1 and rp(I)F1A/rp(I)R1A (4) were used in a second assay. A DNA fragment approximately 1.2 kb long was consistently amplified from all symptomatic plant samples only by both assays. A comparative analysis of 16S rDNA sequences (Genbank Accession Nos. EF421158–EF421160 and EU124518–EU124520) and rp gene sequences (EU277012–EU277014), derived from PCR products, revealed that phytoplasma infecting lily were most similar (99.9% to 16S rDNA and 99.7% to rp) to carrot phytoplasma sp. ca2006/5 and also were similar (99.8% to 16SrDNA and 99.2% to rp) to broccoli phytoplasma sp. br273. Both carrot and broccoli phytoplasmas were classified as members of aster yellow 16S rDNA restriction fragment length polymorphism subgroup 16SrI-B (3). Although infection of lilies by aster yellows (‘Ca. phytoplasma asteris’) subgroup 16SrI-B and 16SrI-C was reported from the Czech Republic and Poland, to our knowledge, this is the first report of ‘Ca. phytoplasma asteris’-related strains associated with lily plants in Mexico. References: (1) R. F. Davis et al. Microbiol. Res. 158:229, 2003. (2) S. L. Dellaporta et al. Plant Mol. Biol. Rep. 1:19, 1983. (3) B. Duduk et al. Bull. Insectol. 60 2:341, 2007. (4) I.-M. Lee et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 54:337, 2004.
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) is one of the most devastating diseases of citrus worldwide. The disease is associated with three different species of fastidious α-proteobacteria, namely ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, Ca. L. americanus, and Ca. L. africanus (1). ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ was first detected in South Florida in 2005 and has spread throughout the citrus-growing areas of Florida. ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ is transmitted naturally by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, and can also be transmitted by graft propagation and via various species of dodder (Cuscuta). HLB affects most if not all citrus and citrus relatives within the family Rutaceae (2), including the ornamental shrub Murraya paniculata (4). In addition, ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ and ‘Ca. L. americanus’ can infect tobacco (Nicotiana xanthi) and periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) (1,4). Here we report that ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ can infect tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) cvs. Manapal and FL47. Manapal and FL 47 plants grown from seed were placed adjacent to ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) plants with dodder (Cuscuta pentagona) already well established on them. Young dodder shoots still connected to the citrus were draped over the tomato plants and subsequently also became attached to the tomato stems. After 1 month, the tomato plants were detached from the citrus and most of the dodder removed. One month later, these tomato plants started to show vein clearing and subsequently the mature leaves became thicker and leathery. Some leaves showed blotchy mottle symptoms and some fruits became lopsided in a manner similar to HLB symptom expression on citrus. PCR amplification of the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ 16S rDNA with primers OI1/OI2c and the β-operon with primers A2/J5 (1) revealed the presence of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ DNA. Sequence analysis confirmed that the sequences of the cloned amplicons were identical to those from the HLB-infected citrus source plant. Both conventional and quantitative real-time PCR (3) revealed a much lower abundance of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ DNA in tomato as compared with ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected citrus or periwinkle, indicating that ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ bacteria multiplied at a lower titer in these tomato cultivars. References: (1) J. M. Bové, J. Plant Pathol. 88:7, 2006. (2) S. E. Halbert et al. Fla. Entomol. 87:330, 2004. (3) W. Li et al. J. Microbiol. Methods 66:104, 2006. (4) L. Z. Zhou et al. Plant Dis. 91:227, 2007.
To characterize potentially important surface-exposed proteins of the phytoplasma causing chrysanthemum yellows (CY), new primers were designed based on the conserved regions of 3 membrane protein genes of the completely sequenced onion yellows and aster yellows witches’ broom phytoplasmas and were used to amplify CY DNA. The CY genes secY, amp, and artI, encoding the protein translocase subunit SecY, the antigenic membrane protein Amp and the arginine transporter ArtI, respectively, were cloned and completely sequenced. Alignment of CY-specific secY sequences with the corresponding genes of other phytoplasmas confirmed the 16S rDNA-based classification, while amp sequences were highly variable within the ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’. Five CY partial sequences were cloned into the pRSetC expression vector, and 3 of the encoded protein fragments (Amp 64/651, Amp 64/224, ArtI 131/512) were expressed as fusion antigens for the production of CY-specific polyclonal antibodies (A416 against Amp 64/224; A407 against ArtI 131/512). A416 recognized, in Western blots, the full-length Amp from CY-infected plants (periwinkle, daisy) and insect vectors ( Euscelidius variegatus , Macrosteles quadripunctulatus ). A416 also reacted to European aster yellows, to primula yellows phytoplasmas, to northern Italian strains of ‘Ca. Phytoplasma asteris’ from lettuce and gladiolus, but it did not react to American aster yellows phytoplasma.