Laboratory of Plant Viruses, Institute of Botany, Zaliuju ezeru 49, Vilnius LT-2021, Lithuania
Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
Phytoplasma strains that belong to group 16SrI (aster yellows phytoplasma group), subgroup A (I-A, North American tomato big bud phytoplasma subgroup) were discovered in diverse plant species in Lithuania. Plants in which the strains were found exhibited symptoms characteristic of infections by phytoplasma. Carrot (Daucus sativus) with carrot proliferation disease exhibited symptoms of proliferation of the crown, chlorosis of young leaves, and reddening of mature leaves. Diseased phlox (Phlox paniculata) exhibited symptoms of virescence and leaf chlorosis. Diseased sea-lavender (Limonium sinuatum) exhibited abnormal proliferation of shoots, chlorosis of young leaves, reddening of mature leaves, and degeneration of flowers. Diseased hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) exhibited chlorosis of leaves and undeveloped flowers. Diseased Aconitum sp. exhibited proliferation of shoots. Phytoplasma-characteristic ribosomal (r) DNA was detected in the plants by use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The rDNA was amplified in PCR primed by primer pair P1/P7 and reamplified in nested PCR primed by primer pair R16F2n/R16R2 (F2n/R2), as previously described (1). The phytoplasmas were classified through restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of 16S rDNA, amplified in the nested PCR primed by F2n/R2, using single endonuclease enzyme digestion with AluI, MseI, KpnI, HhaI, HaeIII, HpaI, HpaII, RsaI, HinfI, TaqI, and Sau3AI. Collective RFLP patterns indicated that all detected phytoplasma strains were affiliated with subgroup I-A. The 16S rDNA amplified from the phytoplasma (CarrP phytoplasma) in diseased carrot was cloned in Escherichia coli, sequenced, and the sequence deposited in the GenBank data library (GenBank accession no. AF291682). The 16S rDNAs of CarrP and tomato big bud (GenBank acc. no. AF222064) phytoplasmas shared 99.8% nucleotide sequence similarity. Phytoplasmas belonging to group 16SrIII (3), group 16SrV (D. Valiunas, unpublished data), and subgroup I-C in group 16SrI (2,3) occur in Lithuania. This report records the first finding of a subgroup I-A phytoplasma in the Baltic region and expands the known plant host range of this phytoplasma subgroup.
References: (1) R. Jomantiene et al. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 48:269, 1998. (2) Jomantiene et al. Phytopathology 90:S39, 2000. (3) Staniulis et al. Plant Dis. 84:1061, 2000.