SUMMARY Many plant bacteriologists, if not all, feel that their particular microbe should appear in any list of the most important bacterial plant pathogens. However, to our knowledge, no such list exists. The aim of this review was to survey all bacterial pathologists with an association with the journal Molecular Plant Pathology and ask them to nominate the bacterial pathogens they would place in a ‘Top 10’ based on scientific/economic importance. The survey generated 458 votes from the international community, and allowed the construction of a Top 10 bacterial plant pathogen list. The list includes, in rank order: (1) Pseudomonas syringae pathovars; (2) Ralstonia solanacearum; (3) Agrobacterium tumefaciens; (4) Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae; (5) Xanthomonas campestris pathovars; (6) Xanthomonas axonopodis pathovars; (7) Erwinia amylovora; (8) Xylella fastidiosa; (9) Dickeya (dadantii and solani); (10) Pectobacterium carotovorum (and Pectobacterium atrosepticum). Bacteria garnering honourable mentions for just missing out on the Top 10 include Clavibacter michiganensis (michiganensis and sepedonicus), Pseudomonas savastanoi and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. This review article presents a short section on each bacterium in the Top 10 list and its importance, with the intention of initiating discussion and debate amongst the plant bacteriology community, as well as laying down a benchmark. It will be interesting to see, in future years, how perceptions change and which bacterial pathogens enter and leave the Top 10.
The genus Xanthomonas is a diverse and economically important group of bacterial phytopathogens, belonging to the gamma-subdivision of the Proteobacteria. Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (Xac) causes citrus canker, which affects most commercial citrus cultivars, resulting in significant losses worldwide. Symptoms include canker lesions, leading to abscission of fruit and leaves and general tree decline. Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) causes black rot, which affects crucifers such as Brassica and Arabidopsis. Symptoms include marginal leaf chlorosis and darkening of vascular tissue, accompanied by extensive wilting and necrosis. Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris is grown commercially to produce the exopolysaccharide xanthan gum, which is used as a viscosifying and stabilizing agent in many industries. Here we report and compare the complete genome sequences of Xac and Xcc. Their distinct disease phenotypes and host ranges belie a high degree of similarity at the genomic level. More than 80% of genes are shared, and gene order is conserved along most of their respective chromosomes. We identified several groups of strain-specific genes, and on the basis of these groups we propose mechanisms that may explain the differing host specificities and pathogenic processes.
Xylella fastidiosa is a fastidious, xylem-limited bacterium that causes a range of economically important plant diseases. Here we report the complete genome sequence of X. fastidiosa clone 9a5c, which causes citrus variegated chlorosis--a serious disease of orange trees. The genome comprises a 52.7% GC-rich 2,679,305-base-pair (bp) circular chromosome and two plasmids of 51,158 bp and 1,285 bp. We can assign putative functions to 47% of the 2,904 predicted coding regions. Efficient metabolic functions are predicted, with sugars as the principal energy and carbon source, supporting existence in the nutrient-poor xylem sap. The mechanisms associated with pathogenicity and virulence involve toxins, antibiotics and ion sequestration systems, as well as bacterium-bacterium and bacterium-host interactions mediated by a range of proteins. Orthologues of some of these proteins have only been identified in animal and human pathogens; their presence in X. fastidiosa indicates that the molecular basis for bacterial pathogenicity is both conserved and independent of host. At least 83 genes are bacteriophage-derived and include virulence-associated genes from other bacteria, providing direct evidence of phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer.
The domestication of citrus, is poorly understood. Cultivated types are selections from, or hybrids of, wild progenitor species, whose identities and contributions remain controversial. By comparative analysis of a collection of citrus genomes, including a high quality haploid reference, we show that cultivated types were derived from two progenitor species. Though cultivated pummelos represent selections from a single progenitor species, C. maxima, cultivated mandarins are introgressions of C. maxima into the ancestral mandarin species, C. reticulata. The most widely cultivated citrus, sweet orange, is the offspring of previously admixed individuals, but sour orange is an F1 hybrid of pure C. maxima and C. reticulata parents, implying that wild mandarins were part of the early breeding germplasm. A wild “mandarin” from China exhibited substantial divergence from C. reticulata, suggesting the possibility of other unrecognized wild citrus species. Understanding citrus phylogeny through genome analysis clarifies taxonomic relationships and enables sequence-directed genetic improvement.
To contribute to our understanding of the genome complexity of sugarcane, we undertook a large-scale expressed sequence tag (EST) program. More than 260,000 cDNA clones were partially sequenced from 26 standard cDNA libraries generated from different sugarcane tissues. After the processing of the sequences, 237,954 high-quality ESTs were identified. These ESTs were assembled into 43,141 putative transcripts. Of the assembled sequences, 35.6% presented no matches with existing sequences in public databases. A global analysis of the whole SUCEST data set indicated that 14,409 assembled sequences (33% of the total) contained at least one cDNA clone with a full-length insert. Annotation of the 43,141 assembled sequences associated almost 50% of the putative identified sugarcane genes with protein metabolism, cellular communication/signal transduction, bioenergetics, and stress responses. Inspection of the translated assembled sequences for conserved protein domains revealed 40,821 amino acid sequences with 1415 Pfam domains. Reassembling the consensus sequences of the 43,141 transcripts revealed a 22% redundancy in the first assembling. This indicated that possibly 33,620 unique genes had been identified and indicated that >90% of the sugarcane expressed genes were tagged
Xylella fastidiosa is a xylem-dwelling, insect-transmitted, gamma-proteobacterium that causes diseases in many plants, including grapevine, citrus, periwinkle, almond, oleander, and coffee. X. fastidiosa has an unusually broad host range, has an extensive geographical distribution throughout the American continent, and induces diverse disease phenotypes. Previous molecular analyses indicated three distinct groups of X. fastidiosa isolates that were expected to be genetically divergent. Here we report the genome sequence of X. fastidiosa (Temecula strain), isolated from a naturally infected grapevine with Pierce's disease (PD) in a wine-grapegrowing region of California. Comparative analyses with a previously sequenced X. fastidiosa strain responsible for citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC) revealed that 98% of the PD X. fastidiosa Temecula genes are shared with the CVC X. fastidiosa strain 9a5c genes. Furthermore, the average amino acid identity of the open reading frames in the strains is 95.7%. Genomic differences are limited to phage-associated chromosomal rearrangements and deletions that also account for the strain-specific genes present in each genome. Genomic islands, one in each genome, were identified, and their presence in other X. fastidiosa strains was analyzed. We conclude that these two organisms have identical metabolic functions and are likely to use a common set of genes in plant colonization and pathogenesis, permitting convergence of functional genomic strategies.Different microorganisms are able to survive in and to colonize plant water-conductive vessels (xylem). The result of this association is either beneficial or detrimental to the plant host.Of the latter, an example is the association of Xylella fastidiosa (38) with diverse plant hosts. X. fastidiosa is a fastidious, insecttransmitted, xylem-inhabiting bacterium known to cause several economically important diseases of both monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants (14,17,29). These diseases include Pierce's disease (PD) of grapevine and citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC), which have rather distinct symptoms and geographical distributions.PD, caused by certain strains of X. fastidiosa, is characterized by wilted, shriveled, raisin-like fruit and scorched leaves that detach, leaving bare petioles attached to the canes (37). The bark of affected canes may lignify or mature irregularly, leaving
Real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) has emerged as an accurate and widely used technique for expression profiling of selected genes. However, obtaining reliable measurements depends on the selection of appropriate reference genes for gene expression normalization. The aim of this work was to assess the expression stability of 15 candidate genes to determine which set of reference genes is best suited for transcript normalization in citrus in different tissues and organs and leaves challenged with five pathogens (Alternaria alternata, Phytophthora parasitica, Xylella fastidiosa and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus). We tested traditional genes used for transcript normalization in citrus and orthologs of Arabidopsis thaliana genes described as superior reference genes based on transcriptome data. geNorm and NormFinder algorithms were used to find the best reference genes to normalize all samples and conditions tested. Additionally, each biotic stress was individually analyzed by geNorm. In general, FBOX (encoding a member of the F-box family) and GAPC2 (GAPDH) was the most stable candidate gene set assessed under the different conditions and subsets tested, while CYP (cyclophilin), TUB (tubulin) and CtP (cathepsin) were the least stably expressed genes found. Validation of the best suitable reference genes for normalizing the expression level of the WRKY70 transcription factor in leaves infected with Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus showed that arbitrary use of reference genes without previous testing could lead to misinterpretation of data. Our results revealed FBOX, SAND (a SAND family protein), GAPC2 and UPL7 (ubiquitin protein ligase 7) to be superior reference genes, and we recommend their use in studies of gene expression in citrus species and relatives. This work constitutes the first systematic analysis for the selection of superior reference genes for transcript normalization in different citrus organs and under biotic stress.
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