April 21, 2020  |  

A Pathovar of Xanthomonas oryzae Infecting Wild Grasses Provides Insight Into the Evolution of Pathogenicity in Rice Agroecosystems

Xanthomonas oryzae (Xo) are critical rice pathogens. Virulent lineages from Africa and Asia and less virulent strains from the US have been well characterized. X. campestris pv. leersiae (Xcl), first described in 1957, causes bacterial streak on the perennial grass, Leersia hexandra, and is a close relative of Xo. L. hexandra, a member of the Poaceae, is highly similar to rice phylogenetically, is globally ubiquitous around rice paddies, and is a reservoir of pathogenic Xo. We used long read, single molecule, real time (SMRT) genome sequences of five strains of Xcl from Burkina Faso, China, Mali and Uganda to determine the genetic relatedness of this organism with Xo. Novel Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) were discovered in all five strains of Xcl. Predicted TALE target sequences were identified in the L. perrieri genome and compared to rice susceptibility gene homologs. Pathogenicity screening on L. hexandra and diverse rice cultivars confirmed that Xcl are able to colonize rice and produce weak but not progressive symptoms. Overall, based on average nucleotide identity, type III effector repertoires and disease phenotype, we propose to rename Xcl to X. oryzae pv. leersiae (Xol) and use this parallel system to improve understanding of the evolution of bacterial pathogenicity in rice agroecosystems.

April 21, 2020  |  

Analysis of genetic diversity of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae populations in Taiwan.

Rice bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is a major rice disease. In Taiwan, the tropical indica type of Oryza sativa originally grown in this area is mix-cultivated with the temperate japonica type of O. sativa, and this might have led to adaptive changes of both rice host and Xoo isolates. In order to better understand how Xoo adapts to this unique environment, we collected and analyzed fifty-one Xoo isolates in Taiwan. Three different genetic marker systems consistently identified five groups. Among these groups, two of them had unique sequences in the last acquired ten spacers in the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) region, and the other two had sequences that were similar to the Japanese isolate MAFF311018 and the Philippines isolate PXO563, respectively. The genomes of two Taiwanese isolates with unique CRISPR sequence features, XF89b and XM9, were further completely sequenced. Comparison of the genome sequences suggested that XF89b is phylogenetically close to MAFF311018, and XM9 is close to PXO563. Here, documentation of the diversity of groups of Xoo in Taiwan provides evidence of the populations from different sources and hitherto missing information regarding distribution of Xoo populations in East Asia.

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