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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(12):4001-10. Epub 2007 Apr 27.

Multilocus sequence typing confirms the close genetic interrelatedness of three distinct flavescence dorée phytoplasma strain clusters and group 16SrV phytoplasmas infecting grapevine and alder in Europe.

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  • 1UMR1090, Génomique, Diversité et Pouvoir Pathogène, INRA, BP 81, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon, France.


Vineyards of southern France and northern Italy are affected by the flavescence dorée (FD) phytoplasma, a quarantine pathogen transmitted by the leafhopper of Nearctic origin Scaphoideus titanus. To better trace propagation of FD strains and identify possible passage between the vineyard and wild plant compartments, molecular typing of phytoplasma strains was applied. The sequences of the two genetic loci map and uvrB-degV, along with the sequence of the secY gene, were determined among a collection of FD and FD-related phytoplasmas infecting grapevine, alder, elm, blackberry, and Spanish broom in Europe. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses consistently indicated the existence of three FD phytoplasma strain clusters. Strain cluster FD1 (comprising isolate FD70) displayed low variability and represented 17% of the disease cases in the French vineyard, with a higher incidence of the cases in southwestern France. Strain cluster FD2 (comprising isolates FD92 and FD-D) displayed no variability and was detected both in France (83% of the cases) and in Italy, whereas the more-variable strain cluster FD3 (comprising isolate FD-C) was detected only in Italy. The clonal property of FD2 and its wide distribution are consistent with diffusion through propagation of infected-plant material. German Palatinate grapevine yellows phytoplasmas (PGY) appeared variable and were often related to some of the alder phytoplasmas (AldY) detected in Italy and France. Finally, phylogenetic analyses concluded that FD, PGY, and AldY were members of the same phylogenetic subclade, which may have originated in Europe.

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