Detection and differentiation of grapevine yellows phytoplasmas belonging to the elm yellows group and to the stolbur subgroup by PCR amplification of non-ribosomal DNA
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Primer pairs were designed from a cloned DNA probe of a strain of flavescence dorée (FD) phytoplasma and from a cloned DNA probe of a strain of stolbur phytoplasma. Among an array of reference phytoplasma strains maintained in periwinkle, pair FD9f/r amplified a 1.3 kb DNA fragment only with phytoplasma strains of elm yellows (EY) group, i.e. two strains of FD and two strains of EY. Tru9I restriction analysis of the fragment amplified by FD9f/r revealed a diversity among EY-group phytoplasmas. The FD strains differed from the strains isolated from elm. The profile of the phytoplasmas infecting the grapevine samples from Catalonia and most of the samples from Northern Italy were identical to that of a FD strain. Three other profiles were detected in grapevine from Palatinate, in Germany.
The two primer pairs derived from a stolbur strain, STOL4f/r and STOL11f2/r1, specifically amplified a 1.7 kb and a 0.9 kb DNA fragment, respectively, with all strains in the stolbur subgroup. However, the pair STOL4f/r did not recognise strain MOL. Both pairs allowed to detect phytoplasmas in diseased grapevines from France, Italy, Spain and Israel. Attempts to differentiate between phytoplasmas in the stolbur subgroup by restriction analyses failed. The pairs FD9f/r and STOL11f2/r1 could be used in the same reaction (multiplex PCR) to detect EY-group phytoplasmas, stolbur-subgroup phytoplasmas or both phytoplasmas simultaneously when template DNAs were mixed.
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