Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight

Wädenswil, Switzerland

Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight

Wädenswil, Switzerland
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Malnoy M.,Research and Innovation Center | Martens S.,Research and Innovation Center | Norelli J.L.,Appalachian Fruit Research Station | Barny M.-A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 3 more authors.
Annual Review of Phytopathology | Year: 2012

The enterobacterial phytopathogen Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight, an invasive disease that threatens a wide range of commercial and ornamental Rosaceae host plants. The response elicited by E. amylovora in its host during disease development is similar to the hypersensitive reaction that typically leads to resistance in an incompatible host-pathogen interaction, yet no gene-for-gene resistance has been described for this host-pathogen system. Comparative genomic analysis has found an unprecedented degree of genetic uniformity among strains of E. amylovora, suggesting that the pathogen has undergone a recent genetic bottleneck. The genome of apple, an important host of E. amylovora, has been sequenced, creating new opportunities for the study of interactions between host and pathogen during fire blight development and for the identification of resistance genes. This review includes recent advances in the genomics of both host and pathogen. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Born Y.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Born Y.,ETH Zurich | Fieseler L.,ETH Zurich | Marazzi J.,ETH Zurich | And 3 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

A diverse set of 24 novel phages infecting the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora was isolated from fruit production environments in Switzerland. Based on initial screening, four phages (L1, M7, S6, and Y2) with broad host ranges were selected for detailed characterization and genome sequencing. Phage L1 is a member of the Podoviridae, with a 39.3-kbp genome featuring invariable genome ends with direct terminal repeats. Phage S6, another podovirus, was also found to possess direct terminal repeats but has a larger genome (74.7 kbp), and the virus particle exhibits a complex tail fiber structure. Phages M7 and Y2 both belong to the Myoviridae family and feature long, contractile tails and genomes of 84.7 kbp (M7) and 56.6 kbp (Y2), respectively, with direct terminal repeats. The architecture of all four phage genomes is typical for tailed phages, i.e., organized into function-specific gene clusters. All four phages completely lack genes or functions associated with lysogeny control, which correlates well with their broad host ranges and indicates strictly lytic (virulent) lifestyles without the possibility for host lysogenization. Comparative genomics revealed that M7 is similar to E. amylovora virus ΦEa21-4, whereas L1, S6, and Y2 are unrelated to any other E. amylovora phage. Instead, they feature similarities to enterobacterial viruses T7, N4, and ΦEcoM-GJ1. In a series of laboratory experiments, we provide proof of concept that specific two-phage cocktails offer the potential for biocontrol of the pathogen. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Jaenicke S.,Bielefeld University | Rezzonico F.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Kamber T.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | And 3 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2010

Background: Erwinia pyrifoliae is a newly described necrotrophic pathogen, which causes fire blight on Asian (Nashi) pear and is geographically restricted to Eastern Asia. Relatively little is known about its genetics compared to the closely related main fire blight pathogen E. amylovora.Results: The genome of the type strain of E. pyrifoliae strain DSM 12163T, was sequenced using both 454 and Solexa pyrosequencing and annotated. The genome contains a circular chromosome of 4.026 Mb and four small plasmids. Based on their respective role in virulence in E. amylovora or related organisms, we identified several putative virulence factors, including type III and type VI secretion systems and their effectors, flagellar genes, sorbitol metabolism, iron uptake determinants, and quorum-sensing components. A deletion in the rpoS gene covering the most conserved region of the protein was identified which may contribute to the difference in virulence/host-range compared to E. amylovora. Comparative genomics with the pome fruit epiphyte Erwinia tasmaniensis Et1/99 showed that both species are overall highly similar, although specific differences were identified, for example the presence of some phage gene-containing regions and a high number of putative genomic islands containing transposases in the E. pyrifoliae DSM 12163Tgenome.Conclusions: The E. pyrifoliae genome is an important addition to the published genome of E. tasmaniensis and the unfinished genome of E. amylovora providing a foundation for re-sequencing additional strains that may shed light on the evolution of the host-range and virulence/pathogenicity of this important group of plant-associated bacteria. © 2010 Smits et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Rezzonico F.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Kamber T.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Blom J.,Bielefeld University | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | Year: 2010

Fire blight, caused by the enterobacterium Erwinia amylovora, is a devastating disease of rosaceous plants that has global economic importance for apple and pear production and trade. The complete genome of E. amylovora CFBP 1430 was sequenced, annotated, and compared with the genomes of other Erwinia spp. Several singleton and shared features of the E. amylovora CFBP 1430 genome were identified that offer a first view into evolutionary aspects within the genus Erwinia. Comparative genomics identified or clarified virulence and fitness determinants and secretion systems. Novel insights revealed in the genome of E. amylovora CFBP 1430 hold potential for exploitation to improve the design of more effective fire blight control strategies. © 2010 The American Phytopathological Society.

Pusey P.L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Stockwell V.O.,Oregon State University | Reardon C.L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Duffy B.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight
Phytopathology | Year: 2011

Pantoea agglomerans E325, the active ingredient in a commercial product for fire blight control, was previously shown in vitro to produce a unique alkaline-and phosphate-sensitive antibiotic specific to Erwinia amylovora. Antibiosis was evaluated as a mode of antagonism on flower stigmas using two antibiosis-deficient mutants. On King's medium B, mutants E325ad1 and E325ad2 have stable smooth-butyrous or hypermucoid colony morphologies, respectively, and the parental strain E325 exhibits phenotypic plasticity with predominantly hypermucoid colonies accompanied by slower-growing, smooth-butyrous colonies. Mutants were tested against E. amylovora on stigmas of detached flowers of crab apple (Malus mandshurica) in growth chambers and apple (Malus domestica) in the orchard. Epiphytic fitness of the antibiosis-negative mutants was similar or greater than the parental strain as determined by relative area under the population curve (RAUPC). In laboratory and orchard trials, both mutants had significantly lower inhibitory activity against the pathogen (i.e., less reduction of E. amylovora RAUPC) compared with the parental strain. E325 and the mutants caused similar decreases in pH in a broth medium, indicating that acidification, which was previously reported as a possible mechanism of pathogen inhibition on stigmas, is not directly related to antibiosis. In this study we provide the first evidence for E325 antibiosis involved in E. amylovora growth suppression on apple flower stigmas.

Braun-Kiewnick A.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Altenbach D.,BIOREBA AG | Oberhansli T.,BIOREBA AG | Bitterlin W.,BIOREBA AG | Duffy B.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight
Journal of Microbiological Methods | Year: 2011

Fire blight is an invasive disease caused by Erwinia amylovora that threatens pome fruit production globally. Effective implementation of phytosanitary control measures depends upon rapid, reliable pathogen detection and disease diagnosis. We developed a lateral-flow immunoassay specific for E. amylovora with a detection limit of log 5.7. CFU/ml, typical of pathogen concentrations in symptomatic plant material. The simple assay had comparable sensitivity to standard culture plating, serum agglutination and nested PCR when validated for application in a phytosanitary laboratory as a confirmatory test of cultured isolates and for first-line diagnosis of phytosanitary samples that represent the full range of commercial, ornamental and forestry host species. On-site validation in ring-trials with local plant inspectors demonstrated robust and reliable detection (compared to subsequent plating and PCR analysis). The simplicity, inspector acceptance and facilitation of expedited diagnosis (from 2. days for laboratory submitted samples to 15. min with the immunoassay), offers a valuable tool for improved phytosanitary control of fire blight. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Popowska M.,University of Warsaw | Rzeczycka M.,University of Warsaw | Miernik A.,University of Warsaw | Krawczyk-Balska A.,University of Warsaw | And 2 more authors.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy | Year: 2012

This study examined differences in antibiotic-resistant soil bacteria and the presence and quantity of resistance genes in soils with a range of management histories. We analyzed four soils from agricultural systems that were amended with manure from animals treated with erythromycin and exposed to streptomycin and/or oxytetracycline, as well as non-manure-amended compost and forest soil. Low concentrations of certain antibiotic resistance genes were detected using multiplex quantitative realtime PCR (qPCR), with tet(B), aad(A), and str(A) each present in only one soil and tet(M) and tet(W) detected in all soils. The most frequently detected resistance genes were tet(B), tet(D), tet(O), tet(T), and tet(W) for tetracycline resistance, str(A), str(B), and aac for streptomycin resistance, and erm(C), erm(V), erm(X), msr(A), ole(B), and vga for erythromycin resistance. Transposon genes specific for Tn916, Tn1549, TnB1230, Tn4451, and Tn5397 were detected in soil bacterial isolates. The MIC ranges of isolated bacteria for tetracycline, streptomycin, and erythromycin were 8 to >256μg/ml, 6 to >1,024μg/ml, and 0.094 to >256μg/ml, respectively. Based on 16S rRNA gene similarity, isolated bacteria showed high sequence identity to genera typical of soil communities. Bacteria with the highest MICs were detected in manure-amended soils or soils from agricultural systems with a history of antibiotic use. Non-manure-amended soils yielded larger proportions of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but these had lower MICs, carried fewer antibiotic resistance genes, and did not display multidrug resistance (MDR). Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Rezzonico F.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Duffy B.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas system confers acquired heritable immunity against mobile nucleic acid elements in prokaryotes, limiting phage infection and horizontal gene transfer of plasmids. In CRISPR arrays, characteristic repeats are interspersed with similarly sized nonrepetitive spacers derived from transmissible genetic elements and acquired when the cell is challenged with foreign DNA. New spacers are added sequentially and the number and type of CRISPR units can differ among strains, providing a record of phage/plasmid exposure within a species and giving a valuable typing tool. The aim of this work was to investigate CRISPR diversity in the highly homogeneous species Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight. A total of 18 CRISPR genotypes were defined within a collection of 37 cosmopolitan strains. Strains from Spiraeoideae plants clustered in three major groups: groups II and III were composed exclusively of bacteria originating from the United States, whereas group I generally contained strains of more recent dissemination obtained in Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Strains from Rosoideae and Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) clustered separately and displayed a higher intrinsic diversity than that of isolates from Spiraeoideae plants. Reciprocal exclusion was generally observed between plasmid content and cognate spacer sequences, supporting the role of the CRISPR/Cas system in protecting against foreign DNA elements. However, in several group III strains, retention of plasmid pEU30 is inconsistent with a functional CRISPR/Cas system. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

Kamber T.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Rezzonico F.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Duffy B.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight
Trees - Structure and Function | Year: 2012

The bacterial plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight, a major disease threat to pome fruit production worldwide with further impact on a wide-range of Rosaceae species. Important factors contributing to the development of the disease were discovered in the last decades. Comparative genomics of the genera Erwinia and Pantoea is coming into focus with the recent availability of complete genome sequences. Insights from comparative genomics now position us to answer fundamental questions regarding the evolution of E. amylovora as a successful pathogen and the critical elements for biocontrol activity of Pantoea spp. This trove of new data promises to reveal novel determinants and to understand interactive pathways for virulence, host range and ecological fitness. The ultimate aim is now to apply genomics and identify the pathogen Achilles heels and antagonist mechanisms of action as targets for designing innovative control strategies for fire blight. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Smits T.H.M.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Rezzonico F.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight | Duffy B.,Swiss National Competence Center for Fire Blight
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2011

Evolutionary genomics is coming into focus with the recent availability of complete sequences for many bacterial species. A hypothesis on the evolution of virulence factors in the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora, the causative agent of fire blight, was generated using comparative genomics with the genomes E. amylovora, Erwinia pyrifoliae and Erwinia tasmaniensis. Putative virulence factors were mapped to the proposed genealogy of the genus Erwinia that is based on phylogenetic and genomic data. Ancestral origin of several virulence factors was identified, including levan biosynthesis, sorbitol metabolism, three T3SS and two T6SS. Other factors appeared to have been acquired after divergence of pathogenic species, including a second flagellar gene and two glycosyltransferases involved in amylovoran biosynthesis. E. amylovora singletons include 3 unique T3SS effectors that may explain differential virulence/host ranges. E. amylovora also has a unique T1SS export system, and a unique third T6SS gene cluster. Genetic analysis revealed signatures of foreign DNA suggesting that horizontal gene transfer is responsible for some of these differential features between the three species. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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