Panel of 23S rRNA gene-based real-time PCR assays for improved universal and group-specific detection of phytoplasmas.
ABSTRACT: Primers and probes based on the 23S rRNA gene have been utilized to design a range of real-time PCR assays for routine phytoplasma diagnostics. These assays have been authenticated as phytoplasma specific and shown to be at least as sensitive as nested PCR. A universal assay to detect all phytoplasmas has been developed, along with a multiplex assay to discriminate 16SrI group phytoplasmas from members of all of the other 16Sr groups. Assays for the 16SrII, 16SrIV, and 16SrXII groups have also been developed to confirm that the 23S rRNA gene can be used to design group-specific assays.
Project description:Phytoplasma suspected symptoms of phyllody, witches' broom, leaf yellowing, stunting and little leaf were observed in Chrysanthemum morifolium, Bougainvillea glabra, Jasminum sambac and Callistephus chinensis during survey of flower nurseries and experimental ornamental fields at Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka from 2014 to 2016. Pleomorphic bodies typical to phytoplasma structures were observed in the phloem sieve elements of ultrathin sections of all the four symptomatic ornamental plants (stem tissue) in transmission electron microscope. Amplification of 1.8 and 1.2 kb phytoplasma DNA products was observed in all the four test plants in PCR assays using universal primer pairs P1/P7 followed by nested primer pair R16F2n/R16R2, respectively. Pairwise sequence comparison, phylogeny and virtual RFLP analysis of 16S rDNA sequences confirmed the association of two phytoplasma subgroups (16SrI-B and 16SrII-D) in four ornamental plant species. 'Ca. P. aurantifolia' subgroup D (16SrII-D) was found associated with chrysanthemum phyllody and leaf yellowing at Delhi and Tamil Nadu, bougainvillea little leaf and yellowing at Delhi and Chinese aster phyllody at Bengaluru, Karnataka. However, jasmine little leaf and yellowing at Bengaluru, Karnataka and chrysanthemum stunting at Pune were found to be associated with 'Ca. P. asteris' subgroup B-related strains (16SrI-B). The identification of 16SrII-D subgroup phytoplasma infecting bougainvillea and 16SrI-B subgroup infecting jasmine are the new reports to the world. Besides weed species, Cannabis sativa showing witches' broom in jasmine fields at Bengaluru and Parthenium hysterophorus showing witches' broom symptoms in chrysanthemum fields at Delhi were identified to be caused by phytoplasma strains classified under subgroups 16SrI-B and 16SrII-D, respectively, by PCR assays and 16Sr DNA sequence comparison analysis. Among the three major leafhopper species identified, only Hishimonas phycitis was identified positive for 16SrI-B and 16SrII-D subgroups of phytoplasmas from chrysanthemum fields at Delhi and jasmine fields at Bengaluru, respectively. The identity of similar phytoplasma strains infecting ornamental species in leafhopper and the weed species in the present study suggested that H. phycitis and weeds may act as potential natural sources for secondary spread of the identified phytoplasma strains.
Project description:Symptoms of stunting (shortening of internodes), twisting and flat stem (the fasciation of a stem), discoloration of petals, deformed flowers, and witches' broom were recorded on an ornamental plant, plumed cockscomb (Celosia argentea L., fam: Amaranthaceae). The survey conducted at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) campus, New Delhi and Karnal region, Haryana, India, during September 2014 to March 2015 revealed disease incidence of 40 and 10%, respectively. The 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison and phylogenetic relationships of Celosia phytoplasma strains under study confirmed that they were associated with two different phytoplasma groups ('Candidatus Phytoplasma australasia' and 'Ca. P. asteris'). Virtual RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences allowed further classification of the Celosia phytoplasma strains into the 16SrI-B and 16SrII-D subgroups. Notably, the detection of 'Ca. P. asteris' phytoplasma was reported in seeds of C. argentea by nested PCR assays; however, no evidence of phytoplasma presence was detected in seedlings raised from these seeds. This observation is the first record of the association of 16SrI-B and 16SrII-D subgroups of phytoplasmas with flat stem and witches' broom disease of C. argentea anywhere from the world.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Crotalaria aegyptiaca, a low shrub is commonly observed in the sandy soils of wadis desert and is found throughout all regions in Oman. A survey for phytoplasma diseases was conducted. During a survey in a wild area in the northern regions of Oman in 2015, typical symptoms of phytoplasma infection were observed on C. aegyptiaca plants. The infected plants showed an excessive proliferation of their shoots and small leaves. RESULTS:The presence of phytoplasma in the phloem tissue of symptomatic C. aegyptiaca leaf samples was confirmed by using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). In addition the extracted DNA from symptomatic C. aegyptiaca leaf samples and Orosius sp. leafhoppers were tested by PCR using phytoplasma specific primers for the 16S rDNA, secA, tuf and imp, and SAP11 genes. The PCR amplifications from all samples yielded the expected products, but not from asymptomatic plant samples. Sequence similarity and phylogenetic tree analyses of four genes (16S rDNA, secA, tuf and imp) showed that Crotalaria witches' broom phytoplasmas from Oman is placed with the clade of Peanut WB (16SrII) close to Fava bean phyllody (16SrII-C), Cotton phyllody and phytoplasmas (16SrII-F), and Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia' (16SrII-B). However, the Crotalaria's phytoplasma was in a separate sub-clade from all the other phytoplasmas belonging to Peanut WB group. The combination of specific primers for the SAP11 gene of 16SrII-A, -B, and -D subgroup pytoplasmas were tested against Crotalaria witches' broom phytoplasmas and no PCR product was amplified, which suggests that the SAP11 of Crotalaria phytoplasma is different from the SAP11 of the other phytoplasmas. CONCLUSION:We propose to assign the Crotalaria witches' broom from Oman in a new lineage 16SrII-W subgroup depending on the sequences analysis of 16S rRNA, secA, imp, tuf, and SAP11 genes. To our knowledge, this is the first report of phytoplasmas of the 16SrII group infecting C. aegyptiaca worldwide.
Project description:Brinjal little leaf (BLL) is a widespread disease of phytoplasma etiology in India that induces severe economic losses. Surveys were conducted in eight brinjal-growing states of India during July 2014 to September 2015 and eighteen BLL samples showing little leaf, phyllody and witches' broom symptoms were collected for phytoplasma identification. Presence of phytoplasmas was confirmed in all the eighteen BLL samples using polymerase chain reaction with phytoplasma-specific primer pairs (P1/P6, R16F2n/R16R2). Pair wise sequence comparison and phylogenetic relationship of 16S rRNA gene sequences of BLL phytoplasma strains confirmed that sixteen out of eighteen BLL strains belonged to clover proliferation phytoplasma (16SrVI) group and two BLL strains (GKP-A and GKP-B) from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, were classified under 16SrII group. Further virtual RFLP analysis of 16S rDNA sequences allowed finer classification of BLL strains into 16SrII-D and 16SrVI-D subgroups. BLL phytoplasma strains belonging to 16SrVI-D subgroup were found as the most widespread phytoplasma strains associated with BLL disease in India. 16SrVI-D subgroup phytoplasma association with two symptomatic weed species viz. Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa at Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Portulaca oleracea at IARI fields, New Delhi was also confirmed by nested PCR assays with similar set of phytoplasma-specific primers, pairwise 16S rDNA sequence comparison, phylogeny and virtual RFLP analysis. Out of five identified leafhopper species from BLL-infected fields at Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, only Hishimonas phycitis was identified as carrier and natural vector of 16SrVI-D subgroup of phytoplasmas by nested PCR assays, sequence comparison, phylogeny, virtual RFLP analysis and transmission assays.
Project description:Symptoms typical of phytoplasma infection such as phyllody, virescence, witches' broom and yellowing were observed in 12 varieties of <i>Chrysanthemum morifolium</i> in floral nurseries and experimental fields at New Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, India, during surveys made from 2015 to 2017. Disease incidence ranged from 15 to 30%. Phytoplasma presence was confirmed in all symptomatic chrysanthemum varieties by molecular identification assays. Sequence comparison, phylogenetic and in silico RFLP analyses of 16S rDNA sequences allowed the identification of the chrysanthemum infecting phytoplasma strains into different ribosomal groups and subgroups, namely 16SrI, 16SrII-D, 16SrVI-D and 16SrXIV. Detection of phytoplasma strains of 16SrII-D subgroup were also confirmed in symptomatic <i>Chenopodium album</i> and <i>Parthenium hysterophorus</i> plants grown in and around the surveyed chrysanthemum fields at New Delhi, whereas 16SrVI-D phytoplasma strains were detected in symptomatic <i>Cannabis sativa</i> weed and leafhopper <i>Hishimonus phycitis</i> individuals collected from the symptomatic chrysanthemum fields at New Delhi. This is the first report on the presence of 16SrVI and 16SrXIV groups of phytoplasmas in chrysanthemum plants. Studies on genetic diversity of phytoplasmas infecting the major chrysanthemum varieties in India and their epidemiological aspects had previously not been reported. The detection and identification of phytoplasmas in different chrysanthemum varieties could contribute to increase the awareness among farmers in the management of these diseases.
Project description:TAXONOMY:Superkingdom Prokaryota; Kingdom Monera; Domain Bacteria; Phylum Firmicutes (low-G+C, Gram-positive eubacteria); Class Mollicutes; Candidatus (Ca.) genus Phytoplasma. HOST RANGE:Ca. Phytoplasma comprises approximately 30 distinct clades based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses of approximately 200 phytoplasmas. Phytoplasmas are mostly dependent on insect transmission for their spread and survival. The phytoplasma life cycle involves replication in insects and plants. They infect the insect but are phloem-limited in plants. Members of Ca. Phytoplasma asteris (16SrI group phytoplasmas) are found in 80 monocot and dicot plant species in most parts of the world. Experimentally, they can be transmitted by approximately 30, frequently polyphagous insect species, to 200 diverse plant species. DISEASE SYMPTOMS:In plants, phytoplasmas induce symptoms that suggest interference with plant development. Typical symptoms include: witches' broom (clustering of branches) of developing tissues; phyllody (retrograde metamorphosis of the floral organs to the condition of leaves); virescence (green coloration of non-green flower parts); bolting (growth of elongated stalks); formation of bunchy fibrous secondary roots; reddening of leaves and stems; generalized yellowing, decline and stunting of plants; and phloem necrosis. Phytoplasmas can be pathogenic to some insect hosts, but generally do not negatively affect the fitness of their major insect vector(s). In fact, phytoplasmas can increase fecundity and survival of insect vectors, and may influence flight behaviour and plant host preference of their insect hosts. DISEASE CONTROL:The most common practices are the spraying of various insecticides to control insect vectors, and removal of symptomatic plants. Phytoplasma-resistant cultivars are not available for the vast majority of affected crops.
Project description:Phyllody, a destructive and economically important disease worldwide caused by phytoplasma infections, is characterized by the abnormal development of floral structures into stunted leafy parts and contributes to serious losses in crop plants, including sesame (Sesamum indicum L.). Accurate identification, differentiation, and quantification of phyllody-causing phytoplasmas are essential for effective management of this plant disease and for selection of resistant sesame varieties. In this study, a diagnostic multiplex qPCR assay was developed using TaqMan® chemistry based on detection of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene of phytoplasmas and the 18S ribosomal gene of sesame. Phytoplasma and sesame specific primers and probes labeled with different fluorescent dyes were used for simultaneous amplification of 16SrII and 16SrIX phytoplasmas in a single tube. The multiplex real-time qPCR assay allowed accurate detection, differentiation, and quantification of 16SrII and 16SrIX groups in 109 sesame plant and 92 insect vector samples tested. The assay was found to have a detection sensitivity of 1.8 x 10(2) and 1.6 x 10(2) DNA copies for absolute quantification of 16SrII and 16SrIX group phytoplasmas, respectively. Relative quantification was effective and reliable for determination of phyllody phytoplasma DNA amounts normalized to sesame DNA in infected plant tissues. The development of this qPCR assay provides a method for the rapid measurement of infection loads to identify resistance levels of sesame genotypes against phyllody phytoplasma disease.
Project description:The presence of phytoplasmas and their associated diseases is an emerging threat to vegetable production which leads to severe yield losses worldwide. Phytoplasmas are phloem-limited pleomorphic bacteria lacking the cell wall, mainly transmitted through leafhoppers but also by plant propagation materials and seeds. Phytoplasma diseases of vegetable crops are characterized by symptoms such as little leaves, phyllody, flower virescence, big buds, and witches' brooms. Phytoplasmas enclosed in at least sixteen different ribosomal groups infecting vegetable crops have been reported thus far across the world. The aster yellows phytoplasma group (16SrI) is presently the prevalent, followed by the peanut witches' broom (16SrII). Wide and overlapping crop and non-crop host ranges of phytoplasmas, polyphagous insect vectors, limited availability of resistance sources and unavailability of environmentally safe chemical control measures lead to an arduous effort in the management of these diseases. The most feasible control of vegetable phytoplasma diseases is a consequence of the development and implementation of integrated disease management programs. The availability of molecular tools for phytoplasma identification at the strain level greatly facilitated this kind of approach. It is moreover essential to understand the molecular basis of phytoplasma-vector interaction, epidemiology and other factors involved in disease development in order to reduce the disease outbreaks. Information on the knowledge about the most widespread phytoplasma diseases in vegetable crops is reviewed here in a comprehensive manner.
Project description:The periwinkle leaf yellowing (PLY) disease was first reported in Taiwan in 2005. This disease was caused by an uncultivated bacterium in the genus "Candidatus phytoplasma." In subsequent years, this bacterium was linked to other plant diseases and caused losses in agriculture. For genomic investigation of this bacterium and its relatives, we conducted whole genome sequencing of a PLY phytoplasma from an infected periwinkle collected in Taoyuan. The de novo genome assembly produced eight contigs with a total length of 824,596 bp. The annotation contains 775 protein-coding genes, 63 pseudogenes, 32 tRNA genes, and two sets of rRNA operons. To characterize the genomic diversity across populations, a second strain that infects green onions in Yilan was collected for re-sequencing analysis. Comparison between these two strains identified 337 sequence polymorphisms and 10 structural variations. The metabolic pathway analysis indicated that the PLY phytoplasma genome contains two regions with highly conserved gene composition for carbohydrate metabolism. Intriguingly, each region contains several pseudogenes and the remaining functional genes in these two regions complement each other, suggesting a case of duplication followed by differential gene losses. Comparative analysis with other available phytoplasma genomes indicated that this PLY phytoplasma belongs to the 16SrI-B subgroup in the genus, with "Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris" that causes the onion yellowing (OY) disease in Japan as the closest known relative. For characterized effectors that these bacteria use to manipulate their plant hosts, the PLY phytoplasma has homologs for SAP11, SAP54/PHYL1, and TENGU. For genome structure comparison, we found that potential mobile unit (PMU) insertions may be the main factor that drives genome rearrangements in these bacteria. A total of 10 PMU-like regions were found in the PLY phytoplasma genome. Two of these PMUs were found to harbor one SAP11 homolog each, with one more similar to the 16SrI-B type and the other more similar to the 16SrI-A type, suggesting possible horizontal transfer. Taken together, this work provided a first look into population genomics of the PLY phytoplasmas in Taiwan, as well as identified several evolutionary processes that contributed to the genetic diversification of these plant-pathogenic bacteria.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phytoplasmas are always associated with symptoms in host plants such as stunting of stems, witches'-broom, yellowing of leaves, formation of sterile-deformed flowers, virescence and phyllody. Recently also symptom of fasciation was reported associated with phytoplasma presence. In the present work, China ixeris fasciation was observed associated with phytoplasmas in Guanzhong Area, Shaanxi, China. RESULTS:Phytoplasma-like bodies were observed under transmission electron microscope in stem tissues of symptomatic samples. The 16S rRNA operon and tuf genes from phytoplasmas were amplified by PCR assays. Phylogenetic trees were calculated respectively based on sequences data of these two genes. The pattern of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) was generated via digesting the PCR products of 16S rRNA gene with eight restriction enzymes. CONCLUSION:The presence of phytoplasma in China ixeris exhibiting fasciation symptom was confirmed by the results of TEM observation and PCR testing. Based on sequence data, phylogeny analysis and actual restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, the associated phytoplasma was classified as related to 16SrI-C subgroup. This was the first record of phytoplasmas in China ixeris.