First, eighth, ninth, and tenth authors: Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan; and second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and tenth authors: Laboratory of Bioresource Technology, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 202-Bioscience Building, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8562, Japan
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Accepted for publication 28 October 2003.
Due to the lack of a means to inoculate plants mechanically, the histological dynamics and in planta spread of phytoplasmas have been studied very little. We analyzed the dynamics of plant infection by phytoplasmas, using a technique to infect a limited area of a leaf, nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR, and immunohistochemical visualization. Following localized inoculation of a leaf of garland chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium) by the vector leafhopper Macrosteles striifrons, the onion yellows (OY) phytoplasma spread within the plant from the inoculated leaf to the main stem (1 day postinoculation [dpi]), to the roots and the top leaf (2 dpi), and to other leaves from top to bottom (from 7 to 21 dpi). The populations of the OY phytoplasmas in inoculated leaves and roots increased approximately sixfold each week from 14 to 28 dpi. At 14 dpi, the OY phytoplasmas colonized limited regions of the phloem tissue in both the root and stem and then spread throughout the phloem by 21 dpi. This information should form the basis for elucidating the mechanisms of phytoplasma multiplication and migration within a plant host.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society