Molecular differentiation of Erwinia amylovora strains from North America and of two Asian pear pathogens by analyses of PFGE patterns and hrpN genes.
In order to determine a possible genomic divergence of Erwinia amylovora 'fruit tree' and raspberry strains from North America, several isolates were differentiated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis, the size of short DNA sequence repeats (SSRs) and the nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of their hrpN genes. By PFGE analysis European strains are highly related, whereas strains from North America were diverse and were further distinguished by the SSR numbers from plasmid pEA29. The E. amylovora strains from Europe showed identical HrpN sequences in contrast to the American isolates from fruit trees and raspberry. Those were related to each other, but distinguishable by their HrpN patterns. The Asian pear pathogens differed in HrpN among each other and from E. amylovora. Erwinia pyrifoliae isolates and the Erwinia strains from Japan were ordered via their HrpN sequences in agreement with the PFGE patterns. For all three pathogens, dendrograms from PFGE and sequence data indicate an evolutionary diversity within the species in spite of a genetic conservation for parts of the hrpN genes suggesting a long persistence of the Asian pear pathogens in Korea and Japan as well as of fire blight in North America. Some of the divergent American E. amylovora isolates share PFGE patterns with the relatively uniform European strains.