S. Chenenaoui, and
E. Abdellatif, Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Biotechnology Center of Borj-cédria (CBBC), Hammam-lif, Tunisia;
G. Durante and
E. Zacchi, International Plant Analysis and Diagnostics s.r.l, Via Einstein, Località Cascina Codazza 26900 LODI (LO), Italy;
A. Rhouma, Laboratory of Improvement and Protection of Genetic Resources of Olive, Olive Tree Institute, Avenue H. Karray, 1002 Tunis Belvedere, Tunis, Tunisia; and
A. Mliki, Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Biotechnology Center of Borj-cédria (CBBC), Hammam-lif, Tunisia
Since October 2011, a serious outbreak of crown gall disease was observed on 1- and 2-year-old grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) cv. Superior Seedless in several vineyards located in the region of Regueb in the center of Tunisia. Fifty isolates of Agrobacterium were isolated on a tartrate medium from galls of affected plants. To prepare template DNA, cell suspensions were lysed in 0.25% sodium-azide (NaN3) buffer prepared in 1% Triton X-100 by heating the samples at 95°C for 10 to 15 min (1). The strains were differentiated using a multiplex PCR assay with a combination of VIRFF1/VIRFR2 and VIRD2S4F716/VIRD2S4R1036 primers (2), which detect regions of virF and virD2 genes, respectively, in A. vitis strains carrying octopine or nopaline Ti plasmids and A. vitis vitopine strains. In order to differentiate A. vitis strains from A. tumefaciens strains, PGF/PGR (4), a polygalacturonase specific primer set, was added to the mixture in multiplex PCR. The isolates segregated into three main groups. The first group carries octopine type Ti plasmids, the second carries vitopine type Ti plasmids, and the third group carries both octopine and vitopine type Ti plasmids. The polygalacturonase gene sequence from 10 isolates showed 94 to 97% identity to the sequences of A. vitis previously deposited in the NCBI GenBank database (Accession No. CP000633.1gb). The biochemical test results corresponded to the results of genetic analysis. The ability to aerobically convert lactose to 3-ketolactose was tested by spotting bacteria onto medium containing lactose and flooding plates with a layer of Benedict's reagents after incubation at 28°C for 48 h. Acid production from glucose was tested by spotting bacterial strains onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium supplemented with CaCO3. Alkali production from L-tartrate was tested by streaking bacteria on AB minimal medium supplemented with L-tartrate and growth in salt medium was tested by streaking on nutrient broth supplemented with 2% NaCl. All isolates except one were negative in 3-ketolactose. They were negative in acid clearing on PDA-CaCO3, grew in 2% NaCl, and produced alkali from tartarate. Pathogenicity of all 50 strains was tested on 1-month-old tomato plants (Lycopersicum esculentum cv. Riograndi). Plants were inoculated on the stem by pricking one to three times through a drop of inoculum (108 CFU/ml) at three inoculation sites. Sterile distilled water was used as control treatment. Plants were grown for 4 weeks at 23 ± 3°C and symptoms were recorded. Typical tumors developed at the inoculation sites and no symptoms were observed on the control plants. In Tunisia, crown gall disease was observed only on stone fruit trees and only A. tumefaciens Biovar 1 have been reported and assigned to four genomic species G4, G6 G7, and G8 basically on the recA sequencing (3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. vitis determined as the causal agent of grapevine crown gall in Tunisia.
References: (1) A. Abolmaaty et al. Microbios 101:181, 2000. (2) F. Bini et al. Vitis 47:181, 2008. (3) D. Costechareyre et al. Microb. Ecol. 60:862, 2010. (4) E. Szegedi and S. Bottka. Vitis 41:37, 2002.