Establishment of a genetically marked insect-derived symbiont in multiple host plants
Alcaligenes xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans, originally isolated from the cibarial region of the foregut of the glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca coagulata), was transformed using the Himar1 transposition system to express EGFP. Seedlings of six potential host plants were inoculated with transformed bacteria and 2 weeks later samples were taken 5 cm away and analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR using primers designed to amplify the gene insert. The largest colony of 3,591,427 cells/2 cm of A. xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans was found in Citrus limon, with almost all plants testing positive in both trials. The amount of colonization decreased in the other plants tested in the following order: orange (Citrus sinensis "sweet orange") > chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum grandiflora cv. "White Diamond") > periwinkle (Vinca rosea) > crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) > grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Chardonnay). The bacterium's preference for citrus paralleled the host insect's preference for this same plant. Additional tests determined that A. xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans thrives as a nonpathogenic, xylem -associated endophyte.