Horizontal Transmission of "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" by Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Triozidae) on Convolvulus and Ipomoea (Solanales: Convolvulaceae)

Torres, G.L.; Cooper, W.Rodney.; Horton, D.R.; Swisher, K.D.; Garczynski, S.F.; Munyaneza, J.E.; Barcenas, N.M.

Plos one 10(11): E0142734


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 26555359
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142734
Accession: 058005280

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"Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" (Proteobacteria) is an important pathogen of solanaceous crops (Solanales: Solanaceae) in North America and New Zealand, and is the putative causal agent of zebra chip disease of potato. This phloem-limited pathogen is transmitted to potato and other solanaceous plants by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Triozidae). While some plants in the Convolvulaceae (Solanales) are also known hosts for B. cockerelli, previous efforts to detect Liberibacter in Convolvulaceae have been unsuccessful. Moreover, studies to determine whether Liberibacter can be acquired from these plants by B. cockerelli are lacking. The goal of this study was to determine whether horizontal transmission of Liberibacter occurs among potato psyllids on two species of Convolvulaceae, sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), which grows abundantly in potato growing regions of the United States. Results indicated that uninfected psyllids acquired Liberibacter from both I. batatas and C. arvensis if infected psyllids were present on plants concurrently with the uninfected psyllids. Uninfected psyllids did not acquire Liberibacter from plants if the infected psyllids were removed from the plants before the uninfected psyllids were allowed access. In contrast with previous reports, PCR did detect the presence of Liberibacter DNA in some plants. However, visible amplicons were faint and did not correspond with acquisition of the pathogen by uninfected psyllids. None of the plants exhibited disease symptoms. Results indicate that horizontal transmission of Liberibacter among potato psyllids can occur on Convolvulaceae, and that the association between Liberibacter and Convolvulaceae merits additional attention.