Engineering of Bacteriophages Y2::dpoL1-C and Y2::luxAB for Efficient Control and Rapid Detection of the Fire Blight Pathogen, Erwinia amylovora.
ABSTRACT: Erwinia amylovora is the causative agent of fire blight, a devastating plant disease affecting members of the Rosaceae Alternatives to antibiotics for control of fire blight symptoms and outbreaks are highly desirable, due to increasing drug resistance and tight regulatory restrictions. Moreover, the available diagnostic methods either lack sensitivity, lack speed, or are unable to discriminate between live and dead bacteria. Owing to their extreme biological specificity, bacteriophages are promising alternatives for both aims. In this study, the virulent broad-host-range E. amylovora virus Y2 was engineered to enhance its killing activity and for use as a luciferase reporter phage, respectively. Toward these aims, a depolymerase gene of E. amylovora virus L1 (dpoL1-C) or a bacterial luxAB fusion was introduced into the genome of Y2 by homologous recombination. The genes were placed downstream of the major capsid protein orf68, under the control of the native promoter. The modifications did not affect viability of infectivity of the recombinant viruses. Phage Y2::dpoL1-C demonstrated synergistic activity between the depolymerase degrading the exopolysaccharide capsule and phage infection, which greatly enhanced bacterial killing. It also significantly reduced the ability of E. amylovora to colonize the surface of detached flowers. The reporter phage Y2::luxAB transduced bacterial luciferase into host cells and induced synthesis of large amounts of a LuxAB luciferase fusion. After the addition of aldehyde substrate, bioluminescence could be readily monitored, and this enabled rapid and specific detection of low numbers of viable bacteria, without enrichment, both in vitro and in plant material.IMPORTANCE Fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora, is the major threat to global pome fruit production, with high economic losses every year. Bacteriophages represent promising alternatives to not only control the disease, but also for rapid diagnostics. To enhance biocontrol efficacy, we combined the desired properties of two phages, Y2 (broad host range) and L1 (depolymerase for capsule degradation) in a single recombinant phage. This phage showed enhanced biocontrol and could reduce E. amylovora on flowers. Phage Y2 was also genetically engineered into a luciferase reporter phage, which transduces bacterial bioluminescence into infected cells and allows detection of low numbers of viable target bacteria. The combination of speed, sensitivity, and specificity is superior to previously used diagnostic methods. In conclusion, genetic engineering could improve the properties of phage Y2 toward better killing efficacy and sensitive detection of E. amylovora cells.
Project description:A diverse set of 24 novel phages infecting the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora was isolated from fruit production environments in Switzerland. Based on initial screening, four phages (L1, M7, S6, and Y2) with broad host ranges were selected for detailed characterization and genome sequencing. Phage L1 is a member of the Podoviridae, with a 39.3-kbp genome featuring invariable genome ends with direct terminal repeats. Phage S6, another podovirus, was also found to possess direct terminal repeats but has a larger genome (74.7 kbp), and the virus particle exhibits a complex tail fiber structure. Phages M7 and Y2 both belong to the Myoviridae family and feature long, contractile tails and genomes of 84.7 kbp (M7) and 56.6 kbp (Y2), respectively, with direct terminal repeats. The architecture of all four phage genomes is typical for tailed phages, i.e., organized into function-specific gene clusters. All four phages completely lack genes or functions associated with lysogeny control, which correlates well with their broad host ranges and indicates strictly lytic (virulent) lifestyles without the possibility for host lysogenization. Comparative genomics revealed that M7 is similar to E. amylovora virus ?Ea21-4, whereas L1, S6, and Y2 are unrelated to any other E. amylovora phage. Instead, they feature similarities to enterobacterial viruses T7, N4, and ?EcoM-GJ1. In a series of laboratory experiments, we provide proof of concept that specific two-phage cocktails offer the potential for biocontrol of the pathogen.
Project description:Erwinia amylovora is the causative agent of fire blight, a serious disease of some Rosaceae plants. The newly isolated bacteriophage PhiEaH2 is able to lyse E. amylovora in the laboratory and has reduced the occurrence of fire blight cases in field experiments. This study presents the sequenced complete genome and analysis of phage PhiEaH2.
Project description:Bacterial blight, caused by the phytopathogen Pseudomonas cannabina pv. alisalensis, is an emerging disease afflicting important members of the Brassicaceae family. The disease is often misdiagnosed as pepper spot, a much less severe disease caused by the related pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola. We have developed a phage-based diagnostic that can both identify and detect the causative agent of bacterial blight and differentiate the two pathogens. A recombinant "light"-tagged reporter phage was generated by integrating bacterial luxAB genes encoding luciferase into the genome of P. cannabina pv. alisalensis phage PBSPCA1. The PBSPCA1::luxAB reporter phage is viable and stable and retains properties similar to those of the wild-type phage. PBSPCA1::luxAB rapidly and sensitively detects P. cannabina pv. alisalensis by conferring a bioluminescent signal response to cultured cells. Detection is dependent on cell viability. Other bacterial pathogens of Brassica species such as P. syringae pv. maculicola, Pseudomonas marginalis, Pectobacterium carotovorum, Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, and X. campestris pv. raphani either do not produce a response or produce significantly attenuated signals with the reporter phage. Importantly, the reporter phage detects P. cannabina pv. alisalensis on diseased plant specimens, indicating its potential for disease diagnosis.
Project description:Phages able to infect the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora were isolated from apple, pear, and raspberry tissues and from soil samples collected at sites displaying fire blight symptoms. Among a collection of 50 phage isolates, 5 distinct phages, including relatives of the previously described phages phiEa1 and phiEa7 and 3 novel phages named phiEa100, phiEa125, and phiEa116C, were identified based on differences in genome size and restriction fragment pattern. phiEa1, the phage distributed most widely, had an approximately 46-kb genome which exhibited some restriction site variability between isolates. Phages phiEa100, phiEa7, and phiEa125 each had genomes of approximately 35 kb and could be distinguished by their EcoRI restriction fragment patterns. phiEa116C contained an approximately 75-kb genome. phiEa1, phiEa7, phiEa100, phiEa125, and phiEa116C were able to infect 39, 36, 16, 20, and 40, respectively, of 40 E. amylovora strains isolated from apple orchards in Michigan and 8, 12, 10, 10, and 12, respectively, of 12 E. amylovora strains isolated from raspberry fields (Rubus spp.) in Michigan. Only 22 of 52 strains were sensitive to all five phages, and 23 strains exhibited resistance to more than one phage. phiEa116C was more effective than the other phages at lysing E. amylovora strain Ea110 in liquid culture, reducing the final titer of Ea110 by >95% when added at a ratio of 1 PFU per 10 CFU and by 58 to 90% at 1 PFU per 10(5) CFU.
Project description:Fire blight, a plant disease of economic importance caused by Erwinia amylovora, may be controlled by the application of bacteriophages. Here, we provide the complete genome sequences and the annotation of three E. amylovora-specific phages isolated in North America and genomic information about a bacteriophage induced by mitomycin C treatment of an Erwinia tasmaniensis strain that is antagonistic for E. amylovora. The American phages resemble two already-described viral genomes, whereas the E. tasmaniensis phage displays a singular genomic sequence in BLAST searches.
Project description:Antibiotics are used extensively to control animal, plant, and human pathogens. They are sprayed on apple and pear orchards to control the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, the causative agent of fire blight. This phytopathogen is developing antibiotic resistance and alternatives either have less efficacy, are phytotoxic, or more management intensive. The objective of our study was to develop an effective biological control agent colonizing the host plant and competing with Erwinia amylovora. It must not be phytotoxic, have a wide spectrum of activity, and be unlikely to induce resistance in the pathogen. To this end, several bacterial isolates from various environmental samples were screened to identify suitable candidates that are antagonistic to E. amylovora. We sampled bacteria from the flowers, leaves, and soil from apple and pear orchards from the springtime bloom period until the summer. The most effective bacteria, including isolates of Pseudomonas poae, Paenibacillus polymyxa, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and Pantoea agglomerans, were tested in vitro and in vivo and formulated into products containing both the live strains and their metabolites that were stable for at least 9 months. Trees treated with the product based on P. agglomerans NY60 had significantly less fire blight than the untreated control and were statistically not different from streptomycin-treated control trees. With P. agglomerans NY60, fire blight never extended beyond the central vein of the inoculated leaf. The fire blight median disease severity score, 10 days after inoculation, was up to 70% less severe on trees treated with P. agglomerans NY60 as compared to untreated controls.
Project description:Fire blight remains a serious threat to commercial apple production in the USA and worldwide. Other diseases and spray damage can result in fire blight-like symptoms that can lead to misdiagnosis and affect disease management strategies. Accurate and timely detection of the fire blight pathogen, <i>Erwinia amylovora</i>, is extremely important to deploy appropriate and timely measures to reduce fire blight epidemics in commercial apple orchards. We tested two commercial lateral flow immunoassays (AgriStrip®, and Pocket Diagnostics kit), Loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), and quantitative PCR (qPCR) to diagnose <i>E. amylovora</i> infected samples in lab and field settings. The AgriStrip® and Pocket Diagnostics kits were able to detect actively growing bacteria up to ×10<sup>6</sup> cfu/ml bacterial concentration. Pocket Diagnostics kit had less specificity and showed positive tests for <i>E. pyrifolia</i> in addition to <i>E. amylovora</i>. The LAMP assay showed high specificity for <i>E. amylovora</i> and was able to detect up to ×10<sup>3</sup> cfu/ml bacterial concentrations. The qPCR assay was also able to detect bacterial cells up to ×10<sup>-3</sup> cfu/ml bacterial concentration with highly specific <i>E. amylovora</i> detection. Grower surveys and comparative cost-benefit analysis indicated that immunoassay kits are less expensive, easier to use, and require less technical expertise for on-site fire blight diagnosis than LAMP and qPCR. However, the choice of a specific diagnostic assay depends on the time, sensitivity, and specificity required for the detection of fire blight and its management.
Project description:Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight, a devastating disease of apples and pears. Here, we report the complete genome sequence and annotation of E. amylovora strain TS3128, which was isolated from Anseong, South Korea, where fire blight first occurred in 2015, using the PacBio RS II system.
Project description:Lytic bacteriophages are in development as biological control agents for the prevention of fire blight disease caused by Erwinia amylovora. Temperate phages should be excluded as biologicals since lysogeny produces the dual risks of host resistance to phage attack and the transduction of virulence determinants between bacteria. The extent of lysogeny was estimated in wild populations of E.?amylovora and Pantoea agglomerans with real-time polymerase chain reaction primers developed to detect E.?amylovora phages belonging to the Myoviridae and Podoviridae families. Pantoea agglomerans, an orchard epiphyte, is easily infected by Erwinia spp. phages, and it serves as a carrier in the development of the phage-mediated biological control agent. Screening of 161 E.?amylovora isolates from 16 distinct geographical areas in North America, Europe, North Africa and New Zealand and 82 P.?agglomerans isolates from southern Ontario, Canada showed that none possessed prophage. Unstable phage resistant clones or lysogens were produced under laboratory conditions. Additionally, a stable lysogen was recovered from infection of bacterial isolate Ea110R with Podoviridae phage ?Ea35-20. These laboratory observations suggested that while lysogeny is possible in E.?amylovora, it is rare or absent in natural populations, and there is a minimal risk associated with lysogenic conversion and transduction by Erwinia spp. phages.
Project description:Fast and accurate diagnosis is needed to eradicate and manage economically important and invasive diseases like fire blight. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is known as the best on-site diagnostic, because it is fast, highly specific to a target, and less sensitive to inhibitors in samples. In this study, LAMP assay that gives more consistent results for on-site diagnosis of fire blight than the previous developed LAMP assays was developed. Primers for new LAMP assay (named as DS-LAMP) were designed from a histidine-tRNA ligase gene (EAMY_RS32025) of E. amylovora CFBP1430 genome. The DS-LAMP amplified DNA (positive detection) only from genomic DNA of E. amylovora strains, not from either E. pyrifoliae (causing black shoot blight) or from Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae (causing shoot blight on apple trees). The detection limit of DS-LAMP was 10 cells per LAMP reaction, equivalent to 104 cells per ml of the sample extract. DS-LAMP successfully diagnosed the pathogens on four fire-blight infected apple and pear orchards. In addition, it could distinguish black shoot blight from fire blight. The Bühlmann-LAMP, developed previously for on-site diagnosis of fire blight, did not give consistent results for specificity to E. amylovora and on-site diagnosis; it gave positive reactions to three strains of E. pyrifoliae and two strains of P. syringae pv. syringae. It also, gave positive reactions to some healthy sample extracts. DS-LAMP, developed in this study, would give more accurate on-site diagnosis of fire blight, especially in the Republic of Korea, where fire blight and black shoot blight coexist.