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Guangdong and Florida Populations of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Distinguished by a Genomic Locus with Short Tandem Repeats

June 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  6
Pages  567 - 572

J. Chen, X. Deng, X. Sun, D. Jones, M. Irey, and E. Civerolo

First and sixth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, 9611 S. Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648; second author: Laboratory of Citrus Huanglongbing Research, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, PR China; third and fourth authors: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services–Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville; and fifth author: United States Sugar Corporation/Southern Gardens Citrus, Clewiston, FL.

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Accepted for publication 22 February 2010.

Huanglongbing (HLB) (yellow shoot disease) is a highly destructive disease that threatens citrus production worldwide. The disease was first observed in Guangdong, P.R. China, over 100 years ago, and was found in Florida, United States, in 2005. ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ has been associated with HLB in many citrus-growing regions around the world, including Guangdong and Florida. The global epidemiology of HLB, as well as management of the disease, relies on knowledge of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ populations in different geographical regions around the world. In this study, we identified a genetic marker containing small tandem repeats in the genome of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ and comparatively analyzed the tandem repeat numbers (TRNs) in ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ populations from Guangdong and Florida. Analyses of TRNs showed that the bacterial population in Guangdong was different from that in Florida. The Guangdong population consisted predominately of strains with a TRN of 7 (TRN7) at a frequency of 47.6%. The Florida population consisted predominately of strains with a TRN of 5 (TRN5) at a frequency of 84.4%. TRNs ranged from 3 to 16. The apparent absence of TRNs of 9, 10, 11, and 12 separated the bacterial strains into two groups: TRNs < 10 (TRN<10) and TRNs > 10 (TRN>10). In Florida, TRN<10 strains (103/109, or 94.5%) were widely distributed in all HLB-affected counties. TRN>10 strains (6/109, or 5.5%) were found in central Florida. This is the first report documenting the differentiation of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ populations between Asia and North America and the possible presence of two differentially distributed genotypes of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ in Florida.

Additional keywords:genomic variation.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2010