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Phytopathology. 2008 Jul;98(7):815-22. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-98-7-0815.

In vitro analysis of the interaction of Pseudomonas savastanoi pvs. savastanoi and nerii with micropropagated olive plants.

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  • 1Area de Genética, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, Málaga, Spain.


This study assessed the use of in vitro olive plants to evaluate the virulence of Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi strains isolated from olive and P. savastanoi pv. nerii strains isolated from oleander knots. First, different olive isolates were inoculated into stem wounds and differences in knot formation and weight of overgrowths were observed for the selected strains. Tissue proliferation was clearly visible in all inoculated plants 30 days after inoculation. Virulence of P. savastanoi pv. nerii mutants with defects in regard to biosynthesis of indole-3-acetic acid and/or cytokinins was tested using this system. In agreement with data previously reported, all mutant strains multiplied in olive but induced attenuated symptoms. To analyze the virulence of P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi affected in their ability to grow in olive tissue, a trpE tryptophan auxotroph mutant was generated using a collection of signature tagged mutagenesis transposons. Virulence of this mutant was clearly reduced as evidenced by swelling of the olive tissue that evolved into attenuated knots. Furthermore, mixed infections with its parental strain revealed that the wild-type strain completely out-competed the trpE mutant. Results shown here demonstrate the usefulness of in vitro olive plants for the analysis of P. savastanoi pvs. savastanoi and nerii virulence. In addition, this system offers the possibility of quantifying virulence differences as weight of overgrowths. Moreover, we established the basis for the use of mixed infections in combination with signature tagged mutagenesis for high-throughput functional genomic analysis of this bacterial pathogen.

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