Link to home

Quantification of Live ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Populations Using Real-Time PCR and Propidium Monoazide

September 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  9
Pages  1,158 - 1,167

H. Hu, M. J. Davis, and R. H. Brlansky, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred 33850

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 9 March 2013.

Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating citrus disease. It is associated with a phloem-restricted bacterium, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, and primarily transmitted by Asian citrus psyllid in Florida. Because Liberibacter cannot be cultured, early diagnosis of HLB relies on DNA-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR), including real-time quantitative (q)PCR. Although estimating genomes from live bacteria (GLB) is critical for HLB research, PCR does not distinguish between live and dead cells and, thus, does not estimate GLB in hosts. Propidium monoazide (PMA), a novel DNA-binding dye, has been successfully used on many bacterial pathogens to effectively remove DNA from dead cells but there is no report of its use on uncultured bacteria. In this study, PMA-qPCR protocols were first optimized to work with plant and psyllid samples, respectively. Both TissueLyser treatment and plant tissue were demonstrated to have an insignificant impact on the GLB detected by PMA-qPCR. Finally, a standard curve for GLB determination was successfully established between PMA-qPCR results and microscopic counts and then applied in two studies with different greenhouse plant samples. This rapid qPCR method provides a more accurate way to determine GLB in HLB hosts which, in turn, should benefit disease epidemiology studies and serve as a crucial component in HLB management.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society