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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EPIDEMIOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT OF XYLELLA FASTIDIOSA (XF) AND OTHER EXOTIC AND INVASIVE DISEASES AND INSECT PESTS Title: Evidence supporting the Egestion-Salivation Hypothesis for inoculation of Xylella fastidiosa by sharpshooter vectors

item Backus, Elaine
item Andrews, Kim -
item Labavitch, John -
item Greve, Carl -

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2010
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
Citation: Backus, E.A., Andrews, K., Labavitch, J., Greve, C.L. 2010. Evidence supporting the Egestion-Salivation Hypothesis for inoculation of Xylella fastidiosa by sharpshooter vectors. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Dec 12-15, 2010, San Diego, CA. Available:

Technical Abstract: Despite more than 70 years of study, the mechanism of inoculation of semipersistent, foregut-borne plant pathogens by their vectors is still unknown. The best model system for these studies is inoculation of the Pierce’s disease bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), by vectors such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS). Research on the egestion-salivation hypothesis for Xf inoculation is presented. Two important steps in this hypothesis are: 1) uptake of saliva containing the cell wall-degrading enzyme beta-1,4 glucanase into the vector’s precibarium, causing Xf colonies attached therein to loosen from the cuticle, followed by 2) injection of saliva containing loosened bacteria into xylem prior to ingestion. To directly test the likelihood that Xf could survive in and migrate out of saliva following inoculation, immunohistology was used to study interactions between Xf and GWSS saliva in grapevine. Adult GWSS were confined in small cages on grapevine stems for 24 hours and allowed to probe, leaving salivary sheaths in the plant. Xf was then needle-inoculated into the same stem area; 1 hour later, the tissue was excised and prepared for immunohistology using a commercial Xf probe. Xf bacteria observed in xylem cells penetrated the semi-viscous saliva deposited during GWSS probing prior to Xf inoculation. Therefore, Xf bacteria have the ability to infiltrate gelled saliva containing salivary glucanase.

Last Modified: 8/28/2016
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