Department of Plant Pathology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802
Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterranea causes powdery scab in potatoes and is distributed worldwide. Genetic studies of this pathogen have been hampered due, in part, to its obligate parasitism and the lack of molecular markers for this pathogen. In this investigation, a single cystosorus inoculation technique was developed to produce large amounts of S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea plasmodia or zoosporangia in eastern black nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum) roots from which DNA was extracted. Cryopreservation of zoosporangia was used for long-term storage of the isolates. S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea-specific restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers were developed from randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fragments. Cystosori of S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea were used for RAPD assays and putative pathogen-specific RAPD fragments were cloned and sequenced. The fragments were screened for specificity by Southern hybridization and subsequent DNA sequence BLAST search. Four polymorphic S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea-specific probes containing repetitive elements, and one containing single copy DNA were identified. These RFLP probes were then used to analyze 24 single cystosorus isolates derived from eight geographic locations in the United States and Canada. Genetic variation was recorded among, but not within, geographic locations. Cluster analysis separated the isolates into two major groups: group I included isolates originating from western North America, with the exception of those from Colorado, and group II included isolates originating from eastern North America and from Colorado. The techniques developed in this study, i.e., production of single cystosorus isolates of S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea and development of RFLP markers for this pathogen, provide methods to further study the genetic structure of S. subterranea f. sp. subterranea.