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

Correlations of cibarial muscle activities of Homalodisca spp. sharpshooters (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) with EPG ingestion waveform and excretion

  • Author(s): Backus, EA; Dugravot, S; Miller, TA; Reardon, BJ;
  • Abstract: Fluid flow into and out of the stylets of xylem-ingesting sharpshooters (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae) is powered by muscles of the cibarial Pump. Such fluid flow is crucial for transmission of Xylella fastidiosa, the Pierce's Disease bacterium, yet has not been rigorously studied via electrical penetration graph (EPG) technology. We correlated EPG waveforms with electromyographically (EMG) recorded muscle potentials from the cibarial dilator muscles, which power the piston-like cibarial diaphragm. There was a 1:1 correspondence of each cycle of cibarial muscle contraction/relaxation with each plateau of EPG waveform C. Results definitively showed that the C waveform represents active ingestion, i.e. fluid flow is propelled by cibarial Muscle contraction. Moreover, each C waveform episode represents Muscular diaphragm Uplift, probably combined with a "bounce" from cuticular elasticity, to provide the suction that pulls fluid into the stylets. Fine structure of the EPG ingestion waveform represents directionality of fluid flow, supporting the primary role of streaming potentials as the electrical origin of the C waveform. Rhythmic bouts of cibarial pumping Were generally correlated with sustained production of excretory droplets. However, neither the onset nor cessation of ingestion was correlated with onset or cessation of excretion, respectively. Volume of excreta is an inexact measure of ingestion. Implications for using EPG to Understand the mechanism of X fastidiosa transmission are discussed. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Publication Date: Dec 2008
  • Journal: Journal Of Insect Physiology