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Skipping the Insect Vector: Plant Stolon Transmission of the Phytopathogen ‘Ca. Phlomobacter fragariae’ from the Arsenophonus Clade of Insect Endosymbionts

Abstract : The genus Arsenophonus represents one of the most widespread clades of insect endosymbionts, including reproductive manipulators and bacteriocyte-associated primary endosymbionts. Two strains belonging to the Arsenophonus clade have been identified as insect-vectored plant pathogens of strawberry and sugar beet. The bacteria accumulate in the phloem of infected plants, ultimately causing leaf yellows and necrosis. These symbionts therefore represent excellent model systems to investigate the evolutionary transition from a purely insect-associated endosymbiont towards an insect-vectored phytopathogen. Using quantitative PCR and transmission electron microscopy, we demonstrate that 'Candidatus Phlomobacter fragariae', bacterial symbiont of the planthopper Cixius wagneri and the causative agent of Strawberry Marginal Chlorosis disease, can be transmitted from an infected strawberry plant to multiple daughter plants through stolons. Stolons are horizontally growing stems enabling the nutrient provisioning of daughter plants during their early growth phase. Our results show that Phlomobacter was abundant in the phloem sieve elements of stolons and was efficiently transmitted to daughter plants, which rapidly developed disease symptoms. From an evolutionary perspective, Phlomobacter is, therefore, not only able to survive within the plant after transmission by the insect vector, but can even be transmitted to new plant generations, independently from its ancestral insect host.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03166562
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 12:59:51 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 10, 2021 - 2:57:47 PM

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Jessica Dittmer, Thierry Lusseau, Xavier Foissac, Franco Faoro. Skipping the Insect Vector: Plant Stolon Transmission of the Phytopathogen ‘Ca. Phlomobacter fragariae’ from the Arsenophonus Clade of Insect Endosymbionts. Insects, MDPI, 2021, 12 (2), pp.93. ⟨10.3390/insects12020093⟩. ⟨hal-03166562⟩

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