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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 May;78(10):3592-8. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00252-12. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Development of an engineered bioluminescent reporter phage for detection of bacterial blight of crucifers.

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  • 1Guild Associates, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


Bacterial blight, caused by the phytopathogen Pseudomonas cannabina pv. alisalensis, is an emerging disease afflicting important members of the Brassicaceae family. The disease is often misdiagnosed as pepper spot, a much less severe disease caused by the related pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola. We have developed a phage-based diagnostic that can both identify and detect the causative agent of bacterial blight and differentiate the two pathogens. A recombinant "light"-tagged reporter phage was generated by integrating bacterial luxAB genes encoding luciferase into the genome of P. cannabina pv. alisalensis phage PBSPCA1. The PBSPCA1::luxAB reporter phage is viable and stable and retains properties similar to those of the wild-type phage. PBSPCA1::luxAB rapidly and sensitively detects P. cannabina pv. alisalensis by conferring a bioluminescent signal response to cultured cells. Detection is dependent on cell viability. Other bacterial pathogens of Brassica species such as P. syringae pv. maculicola, Pseudomonas marginalis, Pectobacterium carotovorum, Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, and X. campestris pv. raphani either do not produce a response or produce significantly attenuated signals with the reporter phage. Importantly, the reporter phage detects P. cannabina pv. alisalensis on diseased plant specimens, indicating its potential for disease diagnosis.

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