Differential expression of genes of Xylella fastidiosa in xylem fluid of citrus and grapevine
Xylella fastidiosa causes a serious Pierce's disease (PD) in grapevine. Xylella fastidiosa cells from a PD strain were grown in a pure xylem fluid of a susceptible grapevine cultivar vs. xylem fluid from citrus, which is not a host for this strain of X. fastidiosa. When grown in grapevine xylem fluid, cells of the PD strain formed clumps and biofilm formed to a greater extent than in citrus xylem fluid, although the PD strain did grow in xylem fluid of three citrus varieties. The differential expression of selected genes of a PD X. fastidiosa strain cultured in the two xylem fluids was analyzed using a DNA macroarray. Compared with citrus xylem fluid, grapevine xylem fluid stimulated the expression of X. fastidiosa genes involved in virulence regulation, such as gacA, algU, xrvA, and hsq, and also genes involved in the biogenesis of pili and twitching motility, such as fimT, pilI, pilU, and pilY1. Increased gene expression likely contributes to PD expression in grapevine, whereas citrus xylem fluid did not support or possibly suppressed the expression of these virulence genes.