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Colonization of Vitis spp. Wood by sGFP-Transformed Phaeomoniella chlamydospora, a Tracheomycotic Fungus Involved in Esca Disease

March 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  3
Pages  290 - 297

Lucia Landi, Sergio Murolo, and Gianfranco Romanazzi

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.

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Accepted for publication 10 November 2011.

To evaluate wood colonization and interactions with Vitis spp. of Phaeomoniella chlamydospora, a fungal agent involved in Esca disease, isolate CBS 229.95 was transformed using a pCT74 construct which contained the genetic markers for synthetic green fluorescent protein (sGFP) and hygromycin B phosphotransferase. Nine stable P. chlamydospora fungal transformants (Pch-sGFP lines) were obtained using polyethylene-glycol-mediated transformation of protoplasts. These were characterized for sgfp and hygromycin B phosphotransferase (hph) genome insertions and for sGFP fluorescence emission, using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and fluorimetric systems, respectively. No correlation was observed between sgfp copy number genome insertion and sGFP fluorescence expression. Cuttings of Vitis vinifera ‘Montepulciano’, ‘Verdicchio’, ‘Sangiovese’, ‘Biancame’, and ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’; and the grapevine rootstocks ‘Kober 5BB’, ‘SO4’, ‘420A’, ‘1103P’, and V. rupestris were inoculated by immersion in a conidial suspension of the selected fungal Pch-sGFP71 line and incubated at 4 ± 1 and 25 ± 1°C. Wood colonization was estimated through epifluorescence microscopy and was affected by incubation temperature. After 6 months at 4 ± 1°C, the fungal growth was completely inhibited. At 25 ± 1°C, the highest extent of wood colonization was recorded in Montepulciano and Verdicchio, with the lowest in the rootstocks SO4 and V. rupestris. The expression of the Pch-sGFP71 transformed line was localized in the xylem area, primarily around the vessels. The use of sGFP-transformed P. chlamydospora helped to clarify different aspects associated with the location of this pathogen in grapevine tissue, before disease symptom expression.

Additional keywords: quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society