A gene encoding the major antigenic protein of phytoplasma associated with sweet potato witches’ broom (SPWB) was cloned and analysed by screening the genomic library of SPWB phytoplasma with monoclonal antibodies for SPWB phytoplasma. The entire predicted structural gene encoded an antigenic protein composed of 172 amino acids with a computed molecular mass of 19.15 kDa and a pl value of 9.78. The -10 region of the promoter and the terminator region of the gene were identified and found to be similar to those of prokaryotes. The hydropathy profile of the deduced amino acid sequence consisted of two distinct regions, a strongly hydrophobic N-terminus and a highly hydrophilic C-terminus. This major antigenic protein was also present in phytoplasma associated with peanut witches’ broom (PNWB) and the two showed homology based on the results of Western blot analysis. Southern hybridization. Northern hybridization, primer extension analysis and PCR. The homologous genes of the antigenic protein of SPWB phytoplasma arid PNWB phytoplasma were not found in other phytoplasmas tested.


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