Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Comparative genomics to develop a specific multiplex PCR assay for detection of Clavibacter michiganensis.

Abstract

Clavibacter michiganensis is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that proliferates in the xylem vessels of tomato, causing bacterial wilt and canker symptoms. Accurate detection is a crucial step in confirming outbreaks of bacterial canker and developing management strategies. A major problem with existing detection methods are false-positive and -negative results. Here, we report the use of comparative genomics of 37 diverse Clavibacter strains, including 21 strains sequenced in this study, to identify specific sequences that are C. michiganensis detection targets. Genome-wide phylogenic analyses revealed additional diversity within the genus Clavibacter. Pathogenic C. michiganensis strains varied in plasmid composition, highlighting the need for detection methods based on chromosomal targets. We utilized sequences of C. michiganensis-specific loci to develop a multiplex PCR-based diagnostic platform using two C. michiganensis chromosomal genes (rhuM and tomA) and an internal control amplifying both bacterial and plant DNA (16s ribosomal RNA). The multiplex PCR assay specifically detected C. michiganensis strains from a panel of 110 additional bacteria, including other Clavibacter spp. and bacterial pathogens of tomato. The assay was adapted to detect the presence of C. michiganensis in seed and tomato plant materials with high sensitivity and specificity. In conclusion, the described method represents a robust, specific tool for detection of C. michiganensis in tomato seed and infected plants.