Genetic analysis of a novel Xylella fastidiosa subspecies found in the Southwestern United States
Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of several scorch diseases, is associated with leaf scorch symptoms in Chitalpa tashkentensis, a common ornamental landscape plant used throughout the southwestern United States. For a number of years, many chitalpa trees in southern New Mexico and Arizona exhibited leaf scorch symptoms, and the results from a regional survey show that chitalpa trees from New Mexico, Arizona, and California are frequently infected with X. fastidiosa. Phylogenetic analysis of multiple loci was used to compare the X. fastidiosa infecting chitalpa strains from New Mexico, Arizona, and trees imported into New Mexico nurseries with previously reported X. fastidiosa strains. Loci analyzed included the 16S ribosome, 16S-23S ribosomal intergenic spacer region, gyrase-B, simple sequence repeat sequences, X. fastidiosa-specific sequences, and the virulence-associated protein (VapD). This analysis indicates that the X. fastidiosa isolates associated with infected chitalpa trees in the Southwest are a highly related group that is distinct from the four previously defined taxons X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa (piercei), X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex, X. fastidiosa subsp. sandyi, and X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca. Therefore, the classification proposed for this new subspecies is X. fastidiosa subsp. tashke.