Model plants for studying the interaction between Methylobacterium mesophilicum and Xylella fastidiosa
Over the last few years, endophytic bacterial communities associated with citrus have been studied as key components interacting with Xylella fastidiosa. In this study, we investigated the possible interaction between the citrus endophyte Methylobacterium mesophilicum SR1.6/6 and X. fastidiosa in model plants such as Catharanthus roseus (Madagaskar periwinkle) and Nicotiana clevelandii (Clevelands tobacco). The aim of this study was to establish the fate of M. mesophilicum SR1.6/6 after inoculation of C. roseus and N. clevelandii plants, using PCR-DGGE (polymerase chain reaction - denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) and plating techniques. Shifts in the indigenous endophytic bacterial communities were observed in plants inoculated with strain SR1.6/6, using specific primers targeting alpha- and beta-Proteobacteria. Cells of strain SR1.6/6 were observed in a biofilm structure on the root and hypocotyl surfaces of in vitro seedlings inoculated with M. mesophilicum SR1.6/6. This emphasizes the importance of these tissues as main points of entrance for this organism. The results showed that C. roseus and N. clevelandii could be used as model plants to study the interaction between M. mesophilicum and X. fastidiosa.