Indexed on: 11 Feb '15Published on: 11 Feb '15Published in: Infection, Genetics and Evolution
'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' is a phytoplasma of the stolbur group (16SrXII subgroup A) that is associated with 'Bois noir' and causes heavy damage to the quality and quantity of grapevine yields in several European countries, and particularly in the Mediterranean area. Analysis of 'Ca. P. solani' genetic diversity was carried out for strains infecting a cv. 'Chardonnay' vineyard, through multilocus sequence typing analysis for the vmp1, stamp and secY genes. Several types per gene were detected: seven out of 20 types for vmp1, six out of 17 for stamp, and four out of 16 for secY. High correlations were seen among the vmp1, stamp and secY typing with the tuf typing. However, no correlations were seen among the tuf and vmp1 types and the Bois noir severity in the surveyed grapevines. Grouping the 'Ca. P. solani' sequences on the basis of their origins (i.e., study vineyard, Italian regions, Euro-Mediterranean countries), dN/dS ratio analysis revealed overall positive selection for stamp (3.99, P=0.019) and vmp1 (2.28, P=0.001). For secY, the dN/dS ratio was 1.02 (P=0.841), showing neutral selection across this gene. Using analysis of the nucleotide sequencing by a Bayesian approach, we determined the population structure of 'Ca. P. solani', which appears to be structured in 3, 5 and 6 subpopulations, according to the secY, stamp and vmp1 genes, respectively. The high genetic diversity of 'Ca. P. solani' from a single vineyard reflects the population structure across wider geographical scales. This information is useful to trace inoculum source and movement of pathogen strains at the local level and over long distances.