PAMDB, a multilocus sequence typing and analysis database and website for plant-associated microbes.
Although there are adequate DNA sequence differences among plant-associated and plant-pathogenic bacteria to facilitate molecular approaches for their identification, identification at a taxonomic level that is predictive of their phenotype is a challenge. The problem is the absence of a taxonomy that describes genetic variation at a biologically relevant resolution and of a database containing reference strains for comparison. Moreover, molecular evolution, population genetics, ecology, and epidemiology of many plant-pathogenic and plant-associated bacteria are still poorly understood. To address these challenges, a database with web interface was specifically designed for plant-associated and plant-pathogenic microorganisms. The Plant-Associated Microbes Database (PAMDB) comprises, thus far, data from multilocus sequence typing and analysis (MLST/MLSA) studies of Acidovorax citrulli, Pseudomonas syringae, Ralstonia solanacearum, and Xanthomonas spp. Using data deposited in PAMDB, a robust phylogeny of Xanthomonas axonopodis and related bacteria has been inferred, and the diversity existing in the Xanthomonas genus and in described Xanthomonas spp. has been compared with the diversity in P. syringae and R. solanacearum. Moreover, we show how PAMDB makes it easy to distinguish between different pathogens that cause almost identical diseases. The scalable design of PAMDB will make it easy to add more plant pathogens in the future.