Pierce's Disease
Research Updates


What is Pierce's Disease?

Pierce's Disease is a bacterial infection, which is spread by bugs that feed on grapevines, particularly the "glassy winged sharpshooter." Grapevines that become infected with PD can quickly become sick and die.

glassy-winged sharpshooter

Xylella fastidiosa subspecies: X. fastidiosa subsp piercei, subsp. nov., X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex subsp. nov., and X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca subsp. nov

  • Author(s): Chang, Chung-Jan; Fatmi, M.; Lacy, G.; Postnikova, E.; Schaad, Norman;
  • Abstract: Xylella fastidiosa, a fastidious bacterium Causing disease in over 100 plant species, is classified as a single species, although genetic studies support multiple taxons. To determine the taxonomic relatedness among strains of X. fastidiosa, we conducted DNA-DNA relatedness assays and sequenced the 16S-23S intergenic spacer (ITS) region using 26 strains from 10 hosts. Under stringent conditions (Tm -15 degreeC), the DNA relatedness for most X. fastidiosa strains was *70%. However, at high stringency (Tm -8 degreeC), three distinct genotypes (A, B, and C) were revealed. Taxon A included strains from cultivated grape, alfalfa, almond (two), and maple, interrelated by 85% (mean); taxon B included strains from peach, elm, plum, pigeon grape, sycamore, and almond (one), interrelated by 84%; and taxon C included only strains from citrus, interrelated by 87%. The mean reciprocal relatedness between taxons A and B, A and C, and B and C, were 58, 41, and 45%, respectively. ITS results also indicated the same grouping; taxons A and B, A and C, and B and C had identities of 98.7, 97.9, and 99.2%, respectively. Previous and present phenotypic data supports the molecular data. Taxon A strains grow faster on Pierces disease agar medium whereas B and C strains grow more slowly. Taxon B and C strains are susceptible to penicillin and resistant to carbenicillin whereas A strains are opposite. Each taxon can be differentiated serologically as well as by structural proteins. We propose taxons A, B, and C be named X. fastidiosa subsp. piercei, subsp. nov, subsp. multiplex, subsp. nov., and subsp. pauca, subsp. nov., respectively. The type strains of the subspecies are subsp. piercei ICPB 50025 (=ATTC 35879T and ICMP 15197), subsp. multiplex ICPB 50039 (= ATTC 35871 and ICMP 15199), and subsp. pauca ICPB 50031 (= ICMP 15198).
  • Publication Date: May 2003
  • Journal: Systematic And Applied Microbiology