‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ (‘Ca. P. solani’) is a crop pathogen that is a member of the 16SrXII-A ribosomal subgroup. It is also known as stolbur phytoplasma and causes yield losses in several important crops, especially in Solanaceous crops. Different strains of the pathogen are regularly reported all over the world, particularly in the Mediterranean region. In this study, the determination of genetic diversity for the pathogen infecting tomatoes and potatoes was carried out by using multilocus sequence typing analysis for the Tuf, SecY, and Vmp1 genes to gain insight into the epidemiology of ‘Ca. P. solani’ in Turkey. Genetic diversity of the phytoplasmas was investigated by sequence-based phylogenetic analyses and in silico RFLP analysis of related genes. It was determined that all ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains infecting tomatoes and potatoes were tuf-b, which is linked to field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis L.). Tomato or potato-infecting ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains showed similarities with each other; however, the isolates collected from different plants showed genetic differences in terms of the SecY gene. This study indicates that the highest genetic variability of collected samples was found in the Vmp1 gene. RsaI-RFLP analysis of TYPH10F/R amplicons showed that potato-infecting ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strains were found to be similar to some existing V types. However, the V-type of tomato-infecting isolates is not similar to any previously reported V-type. The results indicate that there could be an important genetic diversity of ‘Ca. P. solani’-related phytoplasmas in Turkey. This could indicate various ways in which the pathogen has adapted to the two host plants as a consequence of the various Vmp1 gene rearrangements seen in these two plant hosts. Obtained results also indicate that the epidemiology of ‘Ca. P. solani’-related phytoplasmas in the tomato and potato agroecosystem may be better understood with the use of molecular data on the complex of vmp-types.
The considerable economic losses in citrus associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ presence have alerted all producing regions of the world. In Chile, none of these bacteria have been reported in citrus species. During the years 2017 and 2019, 258 samples presenting symptoms similar to those associated with the presence of these bacteria were examined. No detection of ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ associated with “huanglongbing” disease was obtained in the tested samples; therefore, this quarantine pest is maintained as absent in Chile. However, 14 plants resulted positive for phytoplasmas enclosed in subgroups 16SrV-A (12 plants) and 16SrXIII-F (2 plants). Although they have been found in other plant species, this is the first report of these phytoplasmas in citrus worldwide.
The γ-proteobacterium ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus’ is assigned as the major pathogen of “Syndrome des basses richesses”, a sugar beet disease characterised by a reduction in the sugar content of taproots and biomass yield. Despite the economic impact of this bacteriosis, diagnostics for this important pathogen currently rely on end-point PCR detection. Herein, we introduce a TaqMan qPCR for diagnostics of the agent targeting genes encoding a heat shock protein of the Hsp20 family and mannose-6-phosphate isomerase. Quantitation with synthetic oligonucleotides as standard showed that the developed TaqMan qPCR assays enable the detection of up to 100 target copies. A comparison between the TaqMan qPCR and end-point PCR for ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’ detection was carried out on 78 sugar beet samples from different locations in southern Germany. The newly developed assays enable the fast, reliable and sensitive detection of ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’ in sugar beet.
Huanglongbing (HLB) pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) brings a great concern about the phloem nutrient transport in diseased plants. There is an urgent need to find the best management strategies to reduce the losses in the citrus industry worldwide. Endophytic bacteria are negatively affected by CLas pathogen, and these endophytes are associated with improved availability of nutrients and pathogen resistance. This study underpins the relationship between CLas pathogen, endophyte population and nutrients availability in citrus plants. The citrus plants were treated with Bacillus subtilis L1-21 and Hoagland solution to find out synergism efficacy to mitigate citrus HLB. We showed that citrus shoots in the presence of 50% Hoagland solution displayed maximum number of endophytes with 6.28 × 103 to 3.04 × 105 CFU/g. Among 50 candidate strains, B. subtilis L1-21 emerged as potential antagonist against surrogate strain Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The citrus half-leaf method identified that application of endophyte L1-21 with 50% Hoagland solution successfully reduces the CLas abundance. We point out that this combination results in a higher number of endophytes population with 2.52 × 104 to 9.11 × 106 CFU/g after 60 days, and reduces CLas pathogen abundance in asymptomatic HLB plants. In HLB symptomatic citrus plants, B. subtilis L1-21 potentially increases the endophyte population from 1.11 × 104 to 5.26 × 107 CFU/g in the presence of Hoagland solution, and pathogen abundance was reduced from 9.51 × 105 to 1.06 × 104 copies/g. Altogether, we suggested that the presence of endophyte L1-21 with Hoagland solution is more effective in HLB asymptomatic citrus plants, but a slight reduction of pathogen was observed in symptomatic plants. The findings revealed the role of indigenous citrus endophyte B. subtilis L1-21 along with other nutrients in the reduction of CLas pathogen abundance inside symptomatic and asymptomatic plants in citrus endophyte–nutrient–pathogen interplay.
Understanding how phytoplasmas move and multiply within the host plant is fundamental for plant–pathogen interaction studies. In recent years, the tomato has been used as a model plant to study this type of interaction. In the present work, we investigated the distribution and multiplication dynamics of one strain of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma (Ca. P.) solani’ (16SrXII-A) in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L., cv. Micro-Tom) plants. We obtained infected plants by grafting, a fast and effective method to maintain phytoplasma infection. In planta spread and multiplication of ‘Ca. P. solani’ was monitored over time using qualitative and quantitative qPCR. Root, apical shoot, lower leaves, and upper leaves were sampled at each sampling time. We hypothesized that ‘Ca. P. solani’ from the grafting site reached firstly the highest leaf, the apex and the roots; subsequently, the phytoplasmas spread to the rest of the upper leaves and then progressively to the lower leaves. Significant differences were found in ‘Ca. P. solani’ titer among different plant tissues. In particular, the concentration of phytoplasma in the roots was significantly higher than that in the other plant compartments in almost all the sampling dates. Since the roots show rapid colonization and the highest concentration of phytoplasmas, they represent the ideal tissue to sample for an early, sensitive and robust diagnosis.
A novel Borrelia species, Candidatus Borrelia javanense, was found in ectoparasite ticks, Amblyomma javanense, from Manis javanica pangolins seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China. Overall, 12 tick samples in 227 (overall prevalence 5.3%) were positive for Candidatus B. javanense, 9 (5.1%) in 176 males, and 3 (5.9%) in 51 females. The phylogenetic analysis, based on the 16S rRNA gene and the flagellin gene sequences of the Borrelia sp., exhibited strong evidence that Candidatus B. javanense did not belong to the Lyme disease Borrelia group and the relapsing fever Borrelia group but another lineage of Borrelia. The discovery of the novel Borrelia species suggests that A. javanense may be the transmit vector, and the M. javanica pangolins should be considered a possible origin reservoir in the natural circulation of these new pathogens. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of a novel Borrelia species agent in A. javanense from pangolins. Whether the novel agent is pathogenic to humans is unknown and needs further research.
A man with a well-controlled HIV infection, previously diagnosed with lymphogranuloma venereum and treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was suffering from chronic diarrhea. He travelled to Indonesia in the month prior to the start of complaints. Over a 15-month period, sequences related to Campylobactertroglodytis/upsaliensis, C. pinnepediorum/mucosalis/concisus and C. hominis were detected by 16S rRNA qPCR-based assays in various stool samples and in a colon biopsy. Culture revealed the first isolation of “candidatus Campylobacter infans”, a species identified recently by molecular methods only. The patient was treated with azithromycin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline. To identify potential continuous exposure of the patient to Campylobacter, stool samples of the partner and the cat of the patient were analyzed and C. pinnepediorum/mucosalis/concisus and C. helveticus, respectively, were detected. The diversity in detected species in this immunocompromised patient with a lack of repeatedly consistent findings resulted in the conclusion that not any of the Campylobacter species was the primary cause of the clinical condition. This study shows the challenges in detection and interpretation of diagnostic results regarding Campylobacter.
Grapevine Bois noir (BN) is associated with infection by “Candidatus Phytoplasma solani” (CaPsol). In this study, an array of CaPsol strains was identified from 142 symptomatic grapevines in vineyards of northern, central, and southern Italy and North Macedonia. Molecular typing of the CaPsol strains was carried out by analysis of genes encoding 16S rRNA and translation elongation factor EF-Tu, as well as eight other previously uncharacterized genomic fragments. Strains of tuf-type a and b were found to be differentially distributed in the examined geographic regions in correlation with the prevalence of nettle and bindweed. Two sequence variants were identified in each of the four genomic segments harboring hlyC, cbiQ-glyA, trxA-truB-rsuA, and rplS-tyrS-csdB, respectively. Fifteen CaPsol lineages were identified based on distinct combinations of sequence variations within these genetic loci. Each CaPsol lineage exhibited a unique collective restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern and differed from each other in geographic distribution, probably in relation to the diverse ecological complexity of vineyards and their surroundings. This RFLP-based typing method could be a useful tool for investigating the ecology of CaPsol and the epidemiology of its associated diseases. Phylogenetic analyses highlighted that the sequence variants of the gene hlyC, which encodes a hemolysin III-like protein, separated into two clusters consistent with the separation of two distinct lineages on the basis of tufB gene sequences. Alignments of deduced full protein sequences of elongation factor-Tu (tufB gene) and hemolysin III-like protein (hlyC gene) revealed the presence of critical amino acid substitutions distinguishing CaPsol strains of tuf-type a and b. Findings from the present study provide new insights into the genetic diversity and ecology of CaPsol populations in vineyards.
Bois noir is caused by ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’, and it is one of the most important and widespread diseases in the Euro-Mediterranean region. There are complex interactions between phytoplasma and grapevines, weeds, and vectors. These ecological relationships can be tracked according to molecular epidemiology. The aims of the 2-year study (2014–2015) were to describe incidence and spatial distribution of Bois noir in a vineyard with three grapevine varieties in Sicily, and to identify the molecular types of the tuf and vmp1 genes in these naturally infected grapevines, according to the potential reservoir plants and vectors. Disease incidence in 2015 was significantly higher in ‘Chardonnay’ (up to 35%) than for ‘Nero d’Avola’ and ‘Pinot noir’ (<5%). All grapevine, weed, and insect samples were infected by ‘Ca. P. solani’ tuf-type b. Most of the collected insects were strictly related to Vitis spp. and belonged to Neoaliturus fenestratus, Empoasca spp., and Zygina rhamni. The characterization of the vmp1 gene revealed six different vmp types in grapevines (V1, V4, V9, V11, V12, V24), three in weeds (V4, V9, V11), and four in insects (V4, V9, V11, V24). Notably, V4, V9, appear both in hosts and vectors, with V9 predominant. Virtual restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis based on the nucleotide sequences supported the data of the conventional RFLP. Connections between the molecular data recorded in the vineyard ecosystems and the application of innovative tools based on the geostatistical analysis will contribute to further clarification of the specific ecological and epidemiological aspects of ‘Ca. P. solani’ in Sicily.
Phytoplasmas of the 16SrIII group are wide spread, and have a broad plant host range. Among these, ‘Candidatus phytoplasma pruni’ (‘Ca. P. pruni’; phytoplasmas of 16SrIII subgroup A) can cause serious diseases in Prunus species and ‘Ca. P. pruni’-related strains can infect other plant species, including grapevines. In this study, a new real-time PCR detection system was developed for ‘Ca. P. pruni’ using TaqMan chemistry. This test was designed to detect ‘Ca. P. pruni’, by amplifying the species-specific secY gene. In addition, a test to amplify the group-specific 16S rRNA gene region was also developed. The performances of both tests were evaluated. The test that amplifies the secY gene provided reliable and quick detection of ‘Ca. P. pruni’. Using the newly developed and validated test, ‘Ca. P. pruni’ was not found in any of the 434 field samples collected from different plants species grown in different regions of Slovenia.