Xylella fastidiosa: Host Range and Advance in Molecular Identification Techniques

Text - scientific article/review article


In the never ending struggle against plant pathogenic bacteria, a major goal is the early identification and classification of infecting microorganisms. Xylella fastidiosa, a Gram-negative bacterium belonging to the family Xanthmonaclaceae, is no exception as this pathogen showed a broad range of vectors and host plants, many of which may carry the pathogen for a long time without showing any symptom. Till the last years, most of the diseases caused by (fastidiosa have been reported from North and South America, but recently a widespread infection of olive quick decline syndrome caused by this fastidious pathogen appeared in Apulia (south-eastern Italy), and several cases of X, fastidiosa infection have been reported in other European Countries. At least five different subspecies of (fastidiosa have been reported and classified: fastidiosa, multiplex, pauca, sandyi, and tashke. A sixth subspecies (morus) has been recently proposed. Therefore, it is vital to develop fast and reliable methods that allow the pathogen detection during the very early stages of infection, in order to prevent further spreading of this dangerous bacterium. To this purpose, the classical immunological methods such as ELISA and immunofluorescence are not always sensitive enough. However, PCR-based methods exploiting specific primers for the amplification of target regions of genomic DNA have been developed and are becoming a powerful tool for the detection and identification of many species of bacteria. The aim of this review is to illustrate the application of the most commonly used PCR approaches to X. fastidiosa study, ranging from classical PCR, to several PCR-based detection methods: random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), nested PCR (N-PCR). immunocapture PCR (IC-PCR), short sequence repeats (SSRs, also called VNTR), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Amplification and sequence analysis of specific targets is also mentioned. The fast progresses achieved during the last years in the DNA-based classification of this pathogen are described and discussed and specific primers designed for the different methods are listed, in order to provide a concise and useful tool to all the researchers working in the field.


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  • Xylella fastidiosa


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