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Isolation and Characterization of Derivative Lines of the Onion Yellows Phytoplasma that Do Not Cause Stunting or Phloem Hyperplasia

November 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  11
Pages  1,024 - 1,029

Kenro Oshima , Toshiki Shiomi , Tsutomu Kuboyama , Toshimi Sawayanagi , Hisashi Nishigawa , Shigeyuki Kakizawa , Shin-ichi Miyata , Masashi Ugaki , and Shigetou Namba

First, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth authors: Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyoku, Tokyo; and second author: National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan

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Accepted 26 July 2001.

Two lines of onion yellows phytoplasma producing milder symptoms were isolated from the original line (OY-W). One has an additional characteristic, non-insect-transmissibility (OY-NIM), compared with the other (OY-M). OY-M was established after maintaining OY-W for 11 years on a plant host (Chrysanthemum coronarium) with an insect vector (Macrosteles striifrons), and OY-NIM was isolated after subsequent maintenance of OY-M in plants by periodic grafting. Polymerase chain analysis suggested that OY-NIM cannot traverse the gut or survive in the hemolymph of the leafhopper. OY-W results in witches'-broom formation and stunted growth in the host plant. In contrast, OY-M and OY-NIM do not cause stunting in the host plant, although they result in witches'-broom. Histopathological analysis of these lines revealed that the hyperplastic phloem tissue and severe phloem necrosis seen in OY-W did not exist in OY-M and OY-NIM. This was attributed to a reduction in the population of phytoplasma in tissues in both OY-M- and OY-NIM-infected plants. The results suggest that the cause of stunting and phloem hyperplasia may be genetically different from the cause of witches'-broom. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis analysis showed that OY-M had a smaller genome size (≈870 kbp) than OY-W (≈1,000 kbp). Thus, some of the OY-W genes responsible for pathogenicity may not be present in OY-M.

Additional keywords: 16S rRNA , bushy , dwarf , mollicutes , SecA .

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society