In January 2011, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants exhibiting stunting, yellow mosaic, short, chlorotic leaves, aborted flowers, and reduced-size fruits, symptoms similar to those exhibited by plants infected by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (2), were observed in approximately 5% of tomato plants in greenhouses in Jocotitlan in the State of Mexico, Mexico. Occasional plant recovery was also observed. Tomato plants in this facility were previously shown to be infected by Mexican papita viroid (MPVd), Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), and aster yellows phytoplasma. Eight symptomatic leaf samples (designated MX11-01 to MX11-08) were collected and screened against selected tomato viruses and pospiviroids by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR using purified plant RNA or for ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ by PCR using purified plant DNA. As expected, both PepMV and MPVd were detected in these samples. However, two ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-specific PCR products (1,168 and 669 bp) were also amplified in two samples (MX11-02 and MX11-05) using primers OA2 (2) and OI2c (1) or CL514F/CL514R (3), respectively. Each ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-specific PCR product was gel purified with Geneclean (Q-Biogene, Carlsbad, CA) and cloned into pCR2.1 using TOPO TA cloning kit (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) and sequenced (Functional Biosciences, Madison, WI). Sequences of 16S rRNA (1,168 bp) in both isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. JF811596 and JF811597) were identical. However, the 669-bp 50S rRNA sequences in these two isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. JF811598 and JF811599) contained two single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutations. BLASTn searches showed that both 16S rRNA and 50S gene sequences in MX11-05 were identical to the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ previously identified on potato in Chihuahua (GenBank Accession Nos. FJ829811 and FJ829812) and Saltillo (GenBank Accession Nos. FJ498806 or FJ498807) in eastern Mexico. These ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ isolates were recently classified as the “b” haplotype (4). Alignment analysis of the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum' 16S rRNA sequences also revealed the conserved SNP mutations (g.212T > G and g.581T > C) in MX11-02 and MX11-05 as previously identified for other “b” haplotype isolates (4). ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ was first identified in greenhouse tomatoes in 2008 in New Zealand (2). It has also been identified in greenhouse and field tomatoes in the United States. ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ was previously reported to infect field tomatoes in Sinaloa, Mexico (3), which was recently considered as the “a” haplotype (4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ naturally infecting tomatoes in Jocotitlan in the State of Mexico, Mexico. The greenhouse tomato ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ may be transmitted from infected solanaceous plants by potato psyllids (Bactericera cockerelli), which were observed in this facility.
References: (1) S. Jagoueix et al. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 44:379, 1994. (2) L. W. Liefting et al. Plant Dis. 93:208, 2009. (3) J. E. Munyaneza et al. Plant Dis. 93:1076, 2009 (4) W. R. Nelson et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 130:5, 2011.
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