Sugar cane white leaf (SCWL) is a serious disease caused by phytoplasmas. In this study, we performed nested PCR with phytoplasma universal primer pairs (P1/P7 and R16F2n/R16R2) for the 16S rRNA gene to detect SCWL phytoplasmas in 31 SCWL samples collected from Baoshan and Lincang, Yunnan, China. We cloned and sequenced the nested PCR products, revealing that the 16S rRNA gene sequences from 31 SCWL samples were all 1247 bp in length and shared more than 99 % nucleotide sequence similarity with the 16S rRNA gene sequences of SCWL phytoplasmas from various countries. Based on the reported 16S rRNA gene sequence data from SCWL isolates of various countries, we conducted phylogenetic and virtual RFLP analysis. In the resulting phylogenetic tree, all SCWL isolates clustered into two branches, with the Lincang and Baoshan SCWL phytoplasma isolates belonging to different branches. The virtual RFLP patterns show that phytoplasmas of the Lincang branch belong to subgroup 16SrXI-B. However, the virtual RFLP patterns revealed by HaeIII digestion of phytoplasmas of the Baoshan branch differed from those of subgroup 16SrXI-B. According to the results of phylogenetic and virtual RFLP analysis, we propose that the phytoplasmas of the Baoshan branch represent a new subgroup, 16SrXI-D. These findings suggest that SCWL is caused by phytoplasmas from group 16SrXI, including subgroup 16SrXI-B and a new subgroup, 16SrXI-D.
Phytoplasmas (‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’) are insect-transmitted, cell-wall-less, plant-pathogenic bacteria that cause economically important crop diseases. Because phytoplasmas are difficult or impossible to culture in vitro, they are classified taxonomically according to the convention used for unculturable micro-organisms. The first coherent scheme of classification of phytoplasmas, based on the RFLP pattern of the 16S rRNA-encoding gene generated with 17 restriction endonucleases, was updated several times until the development of the iPhyClassifier. iPhyClassifier is an interactive online tool capable of determining the species, group and subgroup of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ of unknown samples using the 16S F2nR2 sequence. Latin America, an important geographical area in relation to food production, has a high incidence of plant diseases caused by phytoplasmas. However, many phytoplasmas associated with these diseases have not been properly classified. An extensive literature review and the use of iPhyClassifier allowed us to identify two new tentative groups (16SrXXXIII-A and 16SrXXXIV-A) and the following tentative new subgroups among Latin American strains that were either previously unclassified or misclassified: six in 16SrI, six in 16SrII, one in 16SrIII, one in 16SrVII, one in 16SrIX, one in 16SrXII and two in 16SrXIII.
Representatives of the crenarchaeal genus Desulfurococcus are strictly anaerobic hyperthermophiles with an organotrophic type of metabolism. Since 1982, five Desulfurococcus species names have been validly published: Desulfurococcus mucosus, D. mobilis, D. amylolyticus, D. fermentans and D. kamchatkensis. Recently, the genomic sequences of all five species became available, promoting the refinement of their taxonomic status. Analysis of full-length high-quality 16S rRNA gene sequences shows that the sequences of D. mobilis and D. mucosus are 100 % identical and differ by 2.2 % from those of D. amylolyticus, D. fermentans and D. kamchatkensis. The latter three sequences differ from each other by 0.1–0.3 % (99.9 % similarity in the D amylolyticus–D. kamchatkensis pair and 99.7 % in the pairs involving D. fermentans). In silico prediction of DNA–DNA hybridization (DDH) values by comparison of genomes using ggdc 2.0 blast+ at http://ggdc.dsmz.de/ produced results that correlated with the 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity values. In the D. mucosus–D. mobilis and D. amylolyticus–D. kamchatkensis pairs, the predicted DDH values were 99 and 92 %, respectively, much higher than the recommended 70 % species-delimiting DDH value. Between members of different pairs, these values were no higher than 20 %. For D. fermentans, its predicted DDH values were around 70 % with D. amylolyticus and D. kamchatkensis and no higher than 20 % with D. mobilis and D. mucosus. These results indicated that D. mobilis should be reclassified as a synonym of D. mucosus, whereas D. kamchatkensis and D. fermentans should be reclassified as synonyms of D. amylolyticus.