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Chromosomal Gene Transfer by Conjugation in the Plant Pathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria

November 1999 , Volume 89 , Number  11
Pages  1,044 - 1,049

Huseyin Basim , Robert E. Stall , Gerald V. Minsavage , and Jeffrey B. Jones

First author: Akdeniz Universitesi, Ziraat Fakultesi, Bitki Koruma Bolumu, Antalya, Turkey; and first, second, third, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611

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Accepted for publication 26 July 1999.

Genes for copper resistance, located on the chromosome of strain XvP26 of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria, were transferred by conjugation to a recipient strain of the bacterium. The chromosomal gene transfer was verified by analyses of the genomes of donor, recipient, and putative transconjugants for plasmid profiles, by polymorphism of DNA bands obtained by digesting total genomic DNA by a rare-cutting endonuclease and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and by Southern hybridization with a probe containing the copper genes. Transfer of kanamycin resistance to a recipient strain, associated with Tn5 insertion into the chromosome of another strain of the bacterial spot pathogen, was also verified. The frequency of kanamycin resistance transfer to recipient was more than 75 times greater in pepper leaves than in vitro. The transfer of chromosomal sequences containing the hypersensitive reaction and pathogenicity (hrp) genes and pigmentation (pig) genes was linked with transfer of kanamycin resistance (Tn5). Horizontal transfer in planta of the chromosomal genes (i.e., cop, pig, hrp, and Tn5 sequences) among strains of X. axonopodis pv. vesicatoria means that horizontal chromosomal gene transfer is possible in nature. This type of gene transfer may explain the presence of great diversity among strains of the bacterial spot pathogen in terms of DNA polymorphism and may also explain the apparent horizontal transfer of hrp sequences among pathovars of Xanthomonas.

Additional keywords: bacterial spot disease, Capsicum annuum, Lycopersicon esculentum.

© 1999 The American Phytopathological Society