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Comparative Genomics and Phylogenetic Analyses Suggest Several Novel Species within the Genus Clavibacter, Including Nonpathogenic Tomato-Associated Strains.


ABSTRACT: Members of the genus Clavibacter are economically important bacterial plant pathogens infecting a set of diverse agricultural crops (e.g., alfalfa, corn, potato, tomato, and wheat). Tomato-associated Clavibacter sp. strains account for a great portion of the genetic diversity of the genus, and C. michiganensis sensu stricto (formerly C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis), causing bacterial canker disease, is considered one of the most destructive seed-borne agents for the crop worldwide. However, current taxonomic descriptions of the genus do not reflect the existing diversity of the strains, resulting in unsatisfactory results in quarantine surveys for the pathogens. In this study, we used all the available genome sequences of Clavibacter sp. strains, including the type strains of newly described subspecies, to provide precise insight into the diversity of tomato-associated members of the genus and further clarify the taxonomic status of the strains using genotypic and phenotypic features. The results of phylogenetic analyses revealed the existence of nine hypothetical new species among the investigated strains. None of the three new subspecies (i.e., C. michiganensis subsp. californiensis, C. michiganensis subsp. chilensis, and C. michiganensis subsp. phaseoli) is included within the tomato-pathogenic C. michiganensis sensu stricto lineage. Although comparative genomics revealed the lack of chp and tomA pathogenicity determinant gene clusters in the nonpathogenic strains, a number of pathogenicity-related genes were noted to be present in all the strains regardless of their pathogenicity characteristics. Altogether, our results indicate a need for a formal taxonomic reconsideration of tomato-associated Clavibacter sp. strains to facilitate differentiation of the lineages in quarantine inspections.IMPORTANCE Clavibacter spp. are economically important bacterial plant pathogens infecting a set of diverse agricultural crops, such as alfalfa, corn, pepper, potato, tomato, and wheat. A number of plant-pathogenic members of the genus (e.g., C. michiganensis sensu stricto and C. sepedonicus, infecting tomato and potato plants, respectively) are included in the A2 (high-risk) list of quarantine pathogens by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). Although tomato-associated members of Clavibacter spp. account for a significant portion of the genetic diversity in the genus, only the strains belonging to C. michiganensis sensu stricto (formerly C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis) cause bacterial canker disease of tomato and are subjected to the quarantine inspections. Hence, discrimination between the pathogenic and nonpathogenic Clavibacter sp. strains associated with tomato seeds and transplants plays a pivotal role in the accurate detection and cost-efficient management of the disease. On the other hand, detailed information on the genetic contents of different lineages of the genus would lead to the development of genome-informed specific detection techniques. In this study, we have provided an overview of the phylogenetic and genomic differences between the pathogenic and nonpathogenic tomato-associated Clavibacter sp. strains. We also noted that the taxonomic status of newly introduced subspecies of C. michiganensis (i.e., C. michiganensis subsp. californiensis, C. michiganensis subsp. chilensis, and C. michiganensis subsp. phaseoli) should be reconsidered.

SUBMITTER: Osdaghi E 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7054091 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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