Filamentous bacteriophages contain a single-stranded DNA genome and have a peculiar lifestyle, since they do not cause host cell lysis, but establish a persistent association with the host, often causing behavioral changes, with effects on bacterial ecology. Over the years, a gradual reduction in the incidence of bacterial wilt has been observed in some fields from Brazil. This event, which has been associated with the loss of pathogenicity of Rasltonia spp. isolates due to infection by filamentous viruses of the inovirus group, is widely reported for Ralstonia spp. Asian isolates infected by inoviruses. In an attempt to elucidate which factors are associated with the phenomenon reported in Brazil, we investigated one isolate of R. solanacearum (UB-2014), with unusual characteristics for R. solanacearum, obtained from eggplant with mild wilt symptoms. To verify if the presence of filamentous bacteriophage was related to this phenotype, we performed viral purification and nucleic acid extraction. The phage genome was sequenced, and phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the virus belongs to the family Inoviridae and was named as Ralstonia solanacerarum inovirus Brazil 1 (RSIBR1). RSIBR1 was transmitted to R. pseudosolanacearum GMI1000, and the virus-infected GMI1000 (GMI1000 VI) isolate showed alterations in phenotypic characteristics, as well as loss of pathogenicity, similarly to that observed in R. solanacearum isolate UB-2014. The presence of virus-infected UB-2014 and GMI1000 VI plants without symptoms, after 3 months, confirms that the infected isolates can colonize the plant without causing disease, which demonstrates that the phage infection changed the behavior of these pathogens.
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We are thankful to the members of our laboratory for the helpful discussions and Dr. Caitilyn Allen (University of Wisconsin-Madison), for providing the Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum GMI1000 isolate used in this work.
This research was supported by grant APQ-01926–14 (FAPEMIG) to PAZ. ASX was the recipient of a FAPEMIG graduate fellowship, JCFA was the recipient of a CAPES graduate fellowship, and RSC was the recipient of a PNPD/CAPES post-doc fellowship.
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de Almeida, J.C.F., da Silva Xavier, A., Cascardo, R.d. et al. Genomic and Biological Characterization of Ralstonia solanacearum Inovirus Brazil 1, an Inovirus that Alters the Pathogenicity of the Phytopathogen Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum. Microb Ecol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-021-01874-w
- Ralstonia spp.
- Multitrophic interactions
- Plant pathogenic bacteria