1887

Abstract

Phytoplasmas classified in group 16SrXII infect a wide range of plants and are transmitted by polyphagous planthoppers of the family Cixiidae. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence identity and biological properties, group 16SrXII encompasses several species, including ‘ ’, ‘ ’ and ‘ ’. Other group 16SrXII phytoplasma strains are associated with stolbur disease in wild and cultivated herbaceous and woody plants and with bois noir disease in grapevines ( L.). Such latter strains have been informally proposed to represent a separate species, ‘ Phytoplasma solani’, but a formal description of this taxon has not previously been published. In the present work, stolbur disease strain STOL11 (STOL) was distinguished from reference strains of previously described species of the ‘ ’ genus based on 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity and a unique signature sequence in the 16S rRNA gene. Other stolbur- and bois noir-associated (‘ Phytoplasma solani’) strains shared >99 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with strain STOL11 and contained the signature sequence. ‘ Phytoplasma solani’ is the only phytoplasma known to be transmitted by . Insect vectorship and molecular characteristics are consistent with the concept that diverse ‘ Phytoplasma solani’ strains share common properties and represent an ecologically distinct gene pool. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA, , and gene sequences supported this view and yielded congruent trees in which ‘ Phytoplasma solani’ strains formed, within the group 16SrXII clade, a monophyletic subclade that was most closely related to, but distinct from, that of ‘ ’-related strains. Based on distinct molecular and biological properties, stolbur- and bois noir-associated strains are proposed to represent a novel species level taxon, ‘ Phytoplasma solani’; STOL11 is designated the reference strain.

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2013-08-01
2021-01-21
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