AbstractFour pathogenic bacterial species of the genus ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’, transmitted by psyllid vectors, have been associated with serious diseases affecting economically important crops of Rutaceae, Apiaceae and Solanaceae families. The most severe disease of citrus plants, huanglongbing (HLB), is associated with ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CaLas), ‘Ca. Liberibacter americanus’ (CaLam) and ‘Ca. Liberibacter africanus’ (CaLaf), while ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum’ (CaLsol) is associated with zebra chip disease in potatoes and vegetative disorders in apiaceous plants. Since these bacteria remain non-culturable and their symptoms are non-specific, their detection and identification are done by molecular methods, mainly based on PCR protocols. In this study, a new quantitative real-time PCR protocol based on TaqMan probe, which can also be performed in a conventional PCR version, has been developed to detect the four known phytopathogenic species of the genus Liberibacter. The new protocol has been validated according to European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) guidelines and is able to detect CaLas, CaLam, CaLaf and CaLsol in both plants and vectors, not only using purified DNA but also using crude extracts of potato and citrus or psyllids. A comparative analysis with other previously described qPCR protocols revealed that this new one developed in this study is more specific and equally or more sensitive. Thus, other genus-specific qPCR protocols have important drawbacks regarding the lack of specificity, while with the new protocol there was no cross-reactions in 250 samples from 24 different plant and insect species from eight different geographical origins. Therefore, it can be used as a rapid and time-saving screening test, as it allows simultaneous detection of all plant pathogenic species of ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ in a one-step assay.
AbstractCandidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (CNM) and Hepatozoon spp. are important vector-borne parasites of humans and animals. CNM is a relatively recently discovered pathogen of humans. Hepatozoon are parasites of reptiles, amphibians and mammals, commonly found in rodents and carnivores worldwide. The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of CNM and Hepatozoon spp. in three species of Microtus and to assess the occurrence of vertical transmission in naturally-infected voles. Molecular techniques were used to detect pathogen DNA in blood and tissue samples of captured voles and their offspring. The prevalence of CNM in the vole community ranged 24–47% depending on Microtus species. The DNA of CNM was detected in 21% of pups from three litters of six infected Microtus dams (two Microtus arvalis and one M. oeconomus) and in 3/45 embryos (6.6%) from two litters of eight CNM-infected pregnant females. We detected Hepatozoon infection in 14% of M. arvalis and 9% of M. oeconomus voles. Hepatozoon sp. DNA was detected in 48.7% of pups from seven litters (6 M. arvalis and 1 M. oeconomus) and in two embryos (14.3%) obtained from one M. arvalis litter. The high prevalence of CNM infections in the Microtus spp. community may be a result of a relatively high rate of vertical transmission among naturally infected voles. Vertical transmission was also demonstrated for Hepatozoon sp. in M. arvalis and M. oeconomus. Our study underlines the significance of alternative routes of transmission of important vector-borne pathogens.
AbstractAkkermansiamuciniphila is a human intestinal tract bacterium that plays an important role in the mucus layer renewal. Several studies have demonstrated that it is a modulator for gut homeostasis and a probiotic for human health. The Akkermansia genus contains two species with standing in nomenclature but their genomic diversity remains unclear. In this study, eight new Akkermansia sp. strains were isolated from the human gut. Using the digital DNA-DNA hybridization (dDDH), average nucleotide identity (ANI) and core genome-based phylogenetic analysis applied to 104 A.muciniphila whole genomes sequences, strains were reclassified into three clusters. Cluster I groups A.muciniphila strains (including strain ATCC BAA-835T as type strain), whereas clusters II and III represent two new species. A member of cluster II, strain Marseille-P6666 differed from A.muciniphila strain ATCC BAA-835T and from A.glycaniphila strain PytT in its ability to grow in microaerophilic atmosphere up to 42 °C, to assimilate various carbon sources and to produce acids from a several compounds. The major fatty acids of strain Marseille-P6666 were 12-methyl-tetradecanoic and pentadecanoic acids. The DNA G + C content of strain Marseille-P6666 was 57.8%. On the basis of these properties, we propose the name A.massiliensis sp. nov. for members of cluster II, with strain Marseille-P6666T (= CSUR P6666 = CECT 30548) as type strain. We also propose the name “Candidatus Akkermansia timonensis” sp. nov. for the members of cluster III, which contains only uncultivated strains, strain Akk0196 being the type strain.
AbstractEleven haplotypes of the bacterium, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, have been identified worldwide, several of which infect important agricultural crops. In the United States, haplotypes A and B are associated with yield and quality losses in potato, tomato, and other crops of the Solanaceae. Both haplotypes are vectored by potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli. Recently, a third haplotype, designated F, was identified in southern Oregon potato fields. To identify the vector of this haplotype, psyllids of multiple species were collected from yellow sticky cards placed near potato fields during two growing seasons. Over 2700 specimens were tested for ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ by polymerase chain reaction. Forty-seven psyllids harbored the bacterium. The infected specimens comprised four psyllid species in two families, Aphalaridae and Triozidae (Hemiptera: Psylloidea). Nucleic acid and/or amino acid sequence analysis of the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ 16S ribosomal RNA, 50S ribosomal proteins L10/L12, and outer membrane protein identified three new haplotypes of the bacterium, designated as Aph1, Aph2 and Aph3, including two variants of Aph2 (Aph2a and Aph2b). The impact of these new haplotypes on solanaceous or other crops is not known. The vector of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ haplotype F was not detected in this study.
AbstractInterspecies hydrogen transfer (IHT) and direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) are two syntrophy models for methanogenesis. Their relative importance in methanogenic environments is still unclear. Our recent discovery of a novel species Candidatus Geobacter eutrophica with the genetic potential of IHT and DIET may serve as a model species to address this knowledge gap. To experimentally demonstrate its DIET ability, we performed electrochemical enrichment of Ca. G. eutrophica-dominating communities under 0 and 0.4 V vs. Ag/AgCl based on the presumption that DIET and extracellular electron transfer (EET) share similar metabolic pathways. After three batches of enrichment, Geobacter OTU650, which was phylogenetically close to Ca. G. eutrophica, was outcompeted in the control but remained abundant and active under electrochemical stimulation, indicating Ca. G. eutrophica’s EET ability. The high-quality draft genome further showed high phylogenomic similarity with Ca. G. eutrophica, and the genes encoding outer membrane cytochromes and enzymes for hydrogen metabolism were actively expressed. A Bayesian network was trained with the genes encoding enzymes for alcohol metabolism, hydrogen metabolism, EET, and methanogenesis from dominant fermentative bacteria, Geobacter, and Methanobacterium. Methane production could not be accurately predicted when the genes for IHT were in silico knocked out, inferring its more important role in methanogenesis. The genomics-enabled machine learning modeling approach can provide predictive insights into the importance of IHT and DIET.
AbstractA recent survey in Germany revealed the wide presence of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi’ in native elm stands. Accessions were studied for their genetic variability and phylogenetic relationship based on the conserved groEL and the variable imp gene. While the groEL sequences revealed a high intraspecific homology of more than 99%, the homology of the imp gene dropped to 71% between distantly related sequences. Twenty-nine groEL and 74 imp genotypes were distinguished based on polymorphic sites. Phylogenetic analysis of the groEL gene clustered all ‘Ca. P. ulmi’ strains and separated them from related phytoplasmas of the 16SrV group. The inferred phylogeny of the imp gene resulted in a different tree topology and separated the ‘Ca. P. ulmi’ genotypes into two clusters, one closely related to the flavescence dorée phytoplasma strain FD-D (16SrV-D), the other affiliated with the flavescence dorée phytoplasma strains FD-C and FD70 and the alder yellows phytoplasma (16SrV-C). In both phylograms, ‘Ca. P. ulmi’ genotypes from Scots elm trees formed a coherent cluster, while genotypes from European white elms and field elms grouped less strictly. The regional distribution pattern was congruent for some of the groEL and imp genotypes, but a strict linkage for all genotypes was not apparent.
AbstractTaxonomy is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics and, more recently, on evolutionary relationships. With the birth of novel genomics/bioinformatics techniques and the increasing interest in microbiome studies, a further advance of taxonomic discipline appears not only possible but highly desirable. The present work proposes a new approach to modern taxonomy, consisting in the inclusion of novel descriptors in the organism characterization: (1) the presence of associated microorganisms (e.g.: symbionts, microbiome), (2) the mitochondrial genome of the host, (3) the symbiont genome. This approach aims to provide a deeper comprehension of the evolutionary/ecological dimensions of organisms since their very first description. Particularly interesting, are those complexes formed by the host plus associated microorganisms, that in the present study we refer to as “holobionts”. We illustrate this approach through the description of the ciliateEuplotes vanleeuwenhoekisp. nov. and its bacterial endosymbiont “CandidatusPinguicoccus supinus” gen. nov., sp. nov. The endosymbiont possesses an extremely reduced genome (~ 163 kbp); intriguingly, this suggests a high integration between host and symbiont.
AbstractHuanglongbing (HLB), or Citrus Greening, is one of the most devastating diseases affecting agriculture today. Widespread throughout Citrus growing regions of the world, it has had severe economic consequences in all areas it has invaded. With no treatment available, management strategies focus on suppression and containment. Effective use of these costly control strategies relies on rapid and accurate identification of infected plants. Unfortunately, symptoms of the disease are slow to develop and indistinct from symptoms of other biotic/abiotic stressors. As a result, diagnosticians have focused on detecting the pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, by DNA-based detection strategies utilizing leaf midribs for sampling. Recent work has shown that fibrous root decline occurs in HLB-affected trees before symptom development among leaves. Moreover, the pathogen, Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus, has been shown to be more evenly distributed within roots than within the canopy. Motivated by these observations, a longitudinal study of young asymptomatic trees was established to observe the spread of disease through time and test the relative effectiveness of leaf- and root-based detection strategies. Detection of the pathogen occurred earlier, more consistently, and more often in root samples than in leaf samples. Moreover, little influence of geography or host variety was found on the probability of detection.
AbstractThe phloem limited bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) is associated with disease in Solanaceous and Apiaceous crops. This bacterium has previously been found in the UK in Trioza anthrisci, but its impact on UK crops is unknown. Psyllid and Lso diversity and distribution among fields across the major carrot growing areas of Scotland were assessed using real-time PCR and DNA barcoding techniques. Four Lso haplotypes were found: C, U, and two novel haplotypes. Lso haplotype C was also found in a small percentage of asymptomatic carrot plants (9.34%, n = 139) from a field in Milnathort where known vectors of this haplotype were not found. This is the first report of Lso in cultivated carrot growing in the UK and raises concern for the carrot and potato growing industry regarding the potential spread of new and existing Lso haplotypes into crops. Trioza anthrisci was found present only in sites in Elgin, Moray with 100% of individuals harbouring Lso haplotype C. Lso haplotype U was found at all sites infecting Trioza urticae and at some sites infecting Urtica dioica with 77.55% and 24.37% average infection, respectively. The two novel haplotypes were found in Craspedolepta nebulosa and Craspedolepta subpunctata and named Cras1 and Cras2. This is the first report of Lso in psyllids from the Aphalaridae. These new haplotypes were most closely related to Lso haplotype H recently found in carrot and parsnip. Lso was also detected in several weed plants surrounding carrot and parsnip fields. These included two Apiaceous species Aegropodium podagraria (hap undetermined) and Anthriscus sylvestris (hap C); one Gallium sp. (Rubiaceae) (hap undetermined); and Chenopodium album (Amaranthaceae) (hap undetermined).
Abstract‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) is a pathogen of solanaceous crops. Two haplotypes of Lso (LsoA and LsoB) are present in North America; both are transmitted by the tomato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc), in a circulative and propagative manner and cause damaging plant diseases (e.g. Zebra chip in potatoes). In this study, we investigated the acquisition and transmission of LsoA or LsoB by the tomato psyllid. We quantified the titer of Lso haplotype A and B in adult psyllid guts after several acquisition access periods (AAPs). We also performed sequential inoculation of tomato plants by adult psyllids following a 7-day AAP and compared the transmission of each Lso haplotype. The results indicated that LsoB population increased faster in the psyllid gut than LsoA. Further, LsoB population plateaued after 12 days, while LsoA population increased slowly during the 16 day-period evaluated. Additionally, LsoB had a shorter latent period and higher transmission rate than LsoA following a 7 day-AAP: LsoB was first transmitted by the adult psyllids between 17 and 21 days following the beginning of the AAP, while LsoA was first transmitted between 21 and 25 days after the beginning of the AAP. Overall, our data suggest that the two Lso haplotypes have distinct acquisition and transmission rates. The information provided in this study will improve our understanding of the biology of Lso acquisition and transmission as well as its relationship with the tomato psyllid at the gut interface.