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Heteroduplex mobility assay detects DNA mutations for differentiation of closely related phytoplasma strains

Heteroduplex mobility assay detects DNA mutations for differentiation of closely related phytoplasma strains

Journal of Microbiological Methods 41(1): 59-68

ISSN/ISBN: 0167-7012

PMID: 10856778

DOI: 10.1016/s0167-7012(00)00137-8

We present the first use of DNA heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA) to detect the point mutations including substitutions and deletions/insertions in 16S rDNA of aster yellows phytoplasma (AY27) and to differentiate phytoplasmas collected from field samples of clover proliferation (CP) and alfalfa witches'-broom (AWB). The phytoplasmal 16S rDNA fragment was amplified from AY27 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cloned into a plasmid vector. The cloned DNA fragment was subjected to in vitro mutation to produce 1- to 4-base substitutions and 1- to 3-base deletions. The mutated 16S rDNA fragments were analyzed by HMA. The results showed that a single two-base substitution or a single-base deletion/insertion in the 529 bp DNA fragment was directly detected and that a DNA divergence at a level of as low as 0.2% was detectable by HMA. Heteroduplex mobilities were affected by the number and composition of the phytoplasma DNA bases in mismatches or gaps and were proportional to the degree of DNA divergences. Gaps caused greater retardation in heteroduplex mobility than mismatches did. HMA was highly sensitive in detecting the mixed infections of phytoplasmas. In analyses of CP and AWB field samples collected in Alberta, two CP and one AWB phytoplasma isolates were differentiated from others by HMA but not by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Therefore, HMA provides a simple, rapid, highly sensitive and analytical method to detect and estimate the genetic divergence of phytoplasmas when other methods such as RFLP are not readily applicable.

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Accession: 003462915

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