First author: Nematology Laboratory, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou (Canton), China; and second, third, fourth, and fifth authors: INRA-UIPMSV, Nematology group, B.P. 2078, 06606 Antibes, France
The species X. index, X. diversicaudatum, X. vuittenezi, and X. italiae are established (E) or putative (P) vectors of Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) (E), Arabis mosaic virus (E), Grapevine chrome mosaic virus (P), and GFLV (P) nepoviruses of grapevine, respectively. All four species are very closely related taxonomically and their low field densities make them difficult to identify from morphological and morphometrical diagnostic characters when only single or few individuals are detected. To improve diagnostic accuracy, a simple method was developed. The internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) region spanning the 18S and 5.8S ribosomal genes was sequenced in one population of each species using two conserved primers from these genes. The ITS1 fragments were 1,132 bp (X. vuittenezi), 1,153 bp (X. index), 1,175 bp (X. diversicaudatum), and 1,190 bp (X. italiae), i.e., a difference of over 5% between the extremes. The sequence variability made it possible to design species-specific internal sense primers that amplified, in combination with the same antisense ITS1 primer, a single signature fragment (340 bp for X. index, 414 bp for X. italiae, 591 bp for X. vuittenezi, and 813 bp for X. diversicaudatum). Tests with DNA from a single adult or juvenile nematode confirmed the specificity of the primers from diverse isolates or populations. The primers were successfully used in a multiplex test for the reliable detection of two to four mixed species, each represented by a single individual. This multiplex-based diagnostic tool will be particularly useful for successful nematode management practices in vineyards.