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First Report of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’ Associated with Phyllody Disease of Snake Weed in India

    Affiliations
    Authors and Affiliations
    • D. Pramesh1
    • M. K. Prasanna Kumar2
    • P. P. Buela2
    • M. K. Yadav3
    • E. Chidanandappa1
    • H. D. Pushpa4
    • A. Saddamhusen2
    • M. Kiranakumara1
    • H. Sharanabasava1
    • C. Manjunath5
    1. 1University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, 584 104, India
    2. 2University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, 560065, India
    3. 3ICAR-National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, 753 006, India
    4. 4ICAR-Indian Institute of Oil Seeds Research, Hyderabad, 500030, India
    5. 5ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Regional Station, Wellington, 643 231, India

    Snake weed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis [L.] Vahl) is a common weed found in agricultural waste fields (bunds, field roads, etc.). Phyllody disease symptoms typical to phytoplasma infection were observed on snake weed during December 2018 with a disease incidence of 28 to 30% in the fields of Gangavathi (15.467251°N, 76.573567°E), India. Ten samples from symptomatic plants were collected along with five asymptomatic samples. Total DNA was extracted and used as a template for detection of phytoplasma using universal phytoplasma primers (P1/P7; R16F2n/R16R2) and secA gene primers (SecAfor1/SecArev3; SecAfor2/SecArev3) in seminested PCR using previously described conditions (Hodgetts et al. 2008; Schneider et al. 1995). The ∼1.2-kb and ∼480-bp amplified products of 16S rRNA and secA genes of phytoplasma were detected, respectively, in all the symptomatic samples but not from any asymptomatic samples. PCR products of 16S rRNA from two randomly selected positive samples, as well as the secA gene from one sample, were cloned and sequenced from both ends. BLAST analysis of 16S rRNA and secA sequences showed 100% (1,247/1,247) and 99.17% (478/482) nucleotide similarity, respectively, with chickpea phyllody phytoplasma (accession no. KX151128) and soybean phyllody phytoplasma (EU168727) of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’ group. Sequences of one each clone of 16S rRNA and secA gene were deposited in the NCBI GenBank with an accession number MK603205 and MN199183, respectively. Further, in iPhyClassifier analysis (Zhao et al. 2009), the virtual restriction fragment length polymorphism pattern of 16S rRNA fragment was similar to 16Sr group II (‘Ca. P. aurantifolia’) and subgroup C (GenBank accession AJ293216), with a pattern similarity coefficient of 0.99. This is the first report of 16SrII-C subgroup phytoplasma associated with phyllody disease of snake weed from India. In India, phyllody disease in many economically important crops such as bamboo, carrot, chickpea, fennel, and sesame is associated with 16Sr II-C subgroup phytoplasma (Rao et al. 2017), and this report suggests a potential role of this weed as an alternate host. The common habitat of this weed is alongside the cultivated hosts of 16Sr II-C subgroup phytoplasma, and therefore it plays an important role in phytoplasma disease epidemiology in such crops.

    The author(s) declare no conflict of interest.

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    The author(s) declare no conflict of interest.