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Molecular Plant Pathology

Comparison of Monoclonal Antibodies, DNA Probes, and PCR for Detection of the Grapevine Yellows Disease Agent. K. H. Chen, Department of Plant Pathology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903; J. R. Guo(2), X. Y. Wu(3), N. Loi(4), L. Carraro(5), Y. H. Guo(6), Y. D. Chen(7), R. Osler(8), R. Pearson(9), and T. A. Chen(10). (2)(3)(6)(7)(10) Department of Plant Pathology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903; (4)(5)(8)Università di Udine, Udine, Italy; (9)Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY. Phytopathology 83:915-922. Accepted for publication 3 May 1993. Copyright 1993 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-83-915.

Two monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for a grapevine yellows mycoplasmalike organism (GY-MLO) were produced by fusing mouse myeloma cell lines NS1/1 to spleen cells of mice immunized with partially purified GY-MLO from diseased periwinkles. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and indirect immunofluorescence (IF) staining, the MAbs were shown to be specific for the GY-MLO. Although both ELISA and IF tests were satisfactory with diseased periwinkles, serological detection of GY-MLO in diseased grapevines was not always reliable because of the extremely low titer of GY-MLO in the phloem and the interference of plant pigments in dot blot immunoassays. We developed specific DNA probes and primers for use in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of the GY-MLO. An enriched preparation of GY-MLO chromosomal DNA was obtained by bisbenzimide-CsCl buoyant density gradient centrifugation of the total DNA extracted from diseased periwinkles. The enriched DNA was cloned into pUC19 and used to transform Escherichia coli DH5? cells. Two recombinant plasmids (pGYD-1 and -2) reacted specifically to GY-MLO DNA and contained 9.0- and 1.6-kb inserts, respectively. Based on the partial sequence of the cloned genomic DNA fragment GYD-2, three oligonucleotides (oligos 1, 2, and 3) were designed and synthesized for use as primers in PCR. Using these specific DNA probes in dot hybridizations, positive results were observed with 10 ng of total DNA from GY-MLO-infected periwinkles. On the other hand, PCR could detect GY-MLO when only 10–2 pg of DNA from the same source was used as template. The labeled DNA probes were used to successfully detect GY-MLO in grapevine samples collected from Italy and the United States. Using oligos 1 and 2, a 550-bp DNA fragment was amplified from crude DNA extracts of infected periwinkles and grapevines. Employing oligos 1 and 3, a 600-bp DNA fragment was amplified only from infected periwinkles, not from diseased grapevines. No PCR products were detected when DNAs from healthy periwinkles or grapevines were used as templates. Results from PCR suggested that related but distinct strains of GY-MLO must exist, causing similar yellows symptoms in grapevines. An inverse relationship also was observed between symptoms of yellows and results from both dot hybridization and PCR. Almost all wild grapevine (Vitis riparia) samples collected near vineyards in New York showed a positive association with GY-MLO. Although none of the V. riparia samples showed GY symptoms, they may serve as an important alternative host for the GY causal agent.