Development of A Nested-MultiLocus Sequence Typing Approach for A Highly Sensitive and Specific Identification of Xylella fastidiosa Subspecies Directly from Plant Samples
Identification of sequence types (ST) of Xylella fastidiosa based on direct MultiLocus Sequence Typing (MLST) of plant DNA samples is partly efficient. In order to improve the sensitivity of X. fastidiosa identification, we developed a direct nested-MLST assay on plant extracted DNA. This method was performed based on a largely used scheme targeting seven housekeeping gene (HKG) loci (cysG, gltT, holC, leuA, malF, nuoL, petC). Samples analyzed included 49 plant species and two insect species (Philaenus spumarius, Neophilaenus campestris) that were collected in 2017 (106 plant samples in France), in 2018 (162 plant samples in France, 40 plant samples and 26 insect samples in Spain), and in 2019 (30 plant samples in Spain). With the nested approach, a significant higher number of samples were amplified. The threshold was improved by 100 to 1000 times compared to conventional PCR. Using nested-MLST assay, plants that were not yet considered hosts tested positive and revealed novel alleles in France, whereas for Spanish samples it was possible to assign the subspecies or ST to samples considered as new hosts in Europe. Direct typing by nested-MLST from plant material has an increased sensitivity and may be useful for epidemiological purposes.