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Population Structures of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ in Southern China

February 2014 , Volume 104 , Number  2
Pages  158 - 162

W. Ma, M. Liang, L. Guan, M. Xu, X. Wen, X. Deng, and J. Chen

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth authors: Laboratory of Citrus Huanglongbing Research, Department of Plant Pathology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, P.R. China; and seventh author: Crop Diseases, Pests, and Genetics Research Unit, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Parlier, CA.

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Accepted for publication 5 August 2013.

Huanglongbing (HLB) is a highly detrimental citrus disease associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, a nonculturable alpha-proteobacterium. Characterization of the bacterial populations is important for development of disease management strategies. In this study, the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ populations in eight provinces in southern China where HLB is endemic were analyzed based on tandem repeat number (TRN) variations in a previously characterized genomic locus CLIBASIA_01645. Of the 224 HLB samples collected, 175 (78.3%) samples yielded single polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons (the single amplicon group, SAG) and 49 (21.7%) samples produced multiple PCR amplicons (the multiple amplicon group, MAG). Variations in SAG are summarized by Nei's diversity index (H) and ratio of TRN ≤ 10/TRN > 10 genotypes (R10). Variations in the MAG are described by the percentage of occurrence (PMAG). At an orchard-level comparison, the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ population from a Guangdong orchard (n = 24) showed H = 0.50, R10 = 23, and PMAG = 0, significantly different from that of the non-Guangdong orchards in Yunnan (n = 23), H = 0.83, R10 = 2.3, and PMAG = 11.5, and in Hainan (n = 35), H = 0.88, R10 = 1.5, and PMAG = 16.7. In a region-level consideration, the Guangdong ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ population (n = 78) was H = 0.77, R10 = 25, and PMAG = 1.3, whereas the non-Guangdong population (n = 84) was H = 0.91, R10 = 1.6, and PMAG = 26.9. Overall, significant differences were observed between the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ population from Guangdong Province and those from the other provinces. A strong aggregation of TRN = 6, 7, and 8 genotypes is characteristic to the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ population in Guangdong. Referenced to genome annotation, we propose that rearrangement of tandem repeats at locus CLIBASIA_01645 could be associated with bacterial environmental adaptation.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2014.