National Institute of Sericultural and Entomological Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8634, Japan
The presence of mulberry dwarf (MD) phytoplasmas in organs of the inoculative vector insects Hishimonoides sellatiformis and Hishimonus sellatus was determined by means of electron microscopy (EM) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Many MD phytoplasmas were detected in genital organs as well as in the intestines, salivary glands, brains, fat bodies, and thoracic ganglia of Hishimonoides sellatiformis, but only in the intestine and salivary glands of Hishimonus sellatus. Many phytoplasmas with characteristic morphology were observed via EM in ovaries, seminal receptacles, and testes, and they were further identified by PCR assays with group I-specific primers. In addition, the organisms were detected by direct or nested PCR assays in eggs (head pigmentation stage of embryos) laid on mulberry shoots by inoculative leafhoppers and in the newly hatched nymphs from these eggs. These findings indicate that transovarial transmission of MD phytoplasmas occurs in Hishimonoides sellatiformis.