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A Novel Species-Level Group of Streptomyces Exhibits Variation in Phytopathogenicity Despite Conservation of Virulence Loci
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions  (IF4.171),  Pub Date : 2020-12-03, DOI: 10.1094/mpmi-06-20-0164-r
Alexandra J. Weisberg, Charles G. Kramer, Raghavendhar R. Kotha, Devanand L. Luthria, Jeff H. Chang, Christopher R. Clarke

The genus Streptomyces includes several phytopathogenic species that cause common scab, a devastating disease of tuber and root crops, in particular potato. The diversity of species that cause common scab is unknown. Likewise, the genomic context necessary for bacteria to incite common scab symptom development is not fully characterized. Here, we phenotyped and sequenced the genomes of five strains from a poorly studied Streptomyces lineage. These strains form a new species-level group. When genome sequences within just these five strains are compared, there are no polymorphisms of loci implicated in virulence. Each genome contains the pathogenicity island that encodes for the production of thaxtomin A, a phytotoxin necessary for common scab. Yet, not all sequenced strains produced thaxtomin A. Strains varied from nonpathogenic to highly virulent on two hosts. Unexpectedly, one strain that produced thaxtomin A and was pathogenic on radish was not aggressively pathogenic on potato. Therefore, while thaxtomin A biosynthetic genes and production of thaxtomin A are necessary, they are not sufficient for causing common scab of potato. Additionally, results show that even within a species-level group of Streptomyces strains, there can be aggressively pathogenic and nonpathogenic strains despite conservation of virulence genes.