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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30199. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030199. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

High-resolution melting analysis as a powerful tool to discriminate and genotype Pseudomonas savastanoi pathovars and strains.

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Laboratorio di Patologia Vegetale e Molecolare, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Agrarie, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy.


Pseudomonas savastanoi is a serious pathogen of Olive, Oleander, Ash, and several other Oleaceae. Its epiphytic or endophytic presence in asymptomatic plants is crucial for the spread of Olive and Oleander knot disease, as already ascertained for P. savastanoi pv. savastanoi (Psv) on Olive and for pv. nerii (Psn) on Oleander, while no information is available for pv. fraxini (Psf) on Ash. Nothing is known yet about the distribution on the different host plants and the real host range of these pathovars in nature, although cross-infections were observed following artificial inoculations. A multiplex Real-Time PCR assay was recently developed to simultaneously and quantitatively discriminate in vitro and in planta these P. savastanoi pathovars, for routine culture confirmation and for epidemiological and diagnostical studies. Here an innovative High-Resolution Melting Analysis (HRMA)-based assay was set up to unequivocally discriminate Psv, Psn and Psf, according to several single nucleotide polymorphisms found in their Type Three Secretion System clusters. The genetic distances among 56 P. savastanoi strains belonging to these pathovars were also evaluated, confirming and refining data previously obtained by fAFLP. To our knowledge, this is the first time that HRMA is applied to a bacterial plant pathogen, and one of the few multiplex HRMA-based assays developed so far. This protocol provides a rapid, sensitive, specific tool to differentiate and detect Psv, Psn and Psf strains, also in vivo and against other related bacteria, with lower costs than conventional multiplex Real-Time PCR. Its application is particularly suitable for sanitary certification programs for P. savastanoi, aimed at avoiding the spreading of this phytopathogen through asymptomatic plants.

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