Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2014
Publication Date: 4/9/2014
Citation: Sengoda, V.G., Cooper, W.R., Swisher, K.D., Henne, D.C., Munyaneza, J.E. 2014. Latent period and transmission of "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" by the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Triozidae). PLoS One. 9(3):e93475. Interpretive Summary: Zebra chip, a new and economically important disease of potato, is caused by the bacterium Liberibacter transmitted by the potato psyllid. Researchers at USDA-ARS Wapato in Washington, in collaboration with scientists at Texas A&M University, elucidated mechanisms by which this insect pest vectors the bacterium to potato crops. It was determined that it takes two weeks for the psyllid to effectively transmit Liberibacter and cause zebra chip, following acquisition of the pathogen from infected plants. This information will help potato producers minimize damage caused by zebra chip by monitoring infective potato psyllid populations and properly timing applications of insecticides targeted against this insect vector.
Technical Abstract: “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” (Lso) is an economically important pathogen of solanaceous crops and the causal agent of zebra chip disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). This pathogen is transmitted to solanaceous species by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc), but many aspects of the acquisition and transmission processes have yet to be elucidated. The present study was conducted to assess the interacting effects of acquisition access period, incubation period, and host plant on Lso titer in psyllids, the movement of Lso from the alimentary canal to the salivary glands of the insect, and the ability of psyllids to transmit Lso to non-infected host plants. Following initial pathogen acquisition, the probability of Lso presence in the alimentary canal remained constant from 0 to 3 weeks, but the probability of Lso being present in the salivary glands increased with increasing incubation period. Lso copy numbers in psyllids peaked two weeks after the initial pathogen acquisition and psyllids were capable of transmitting Lso to non-infected host plants only after a two-week incubation period. Psyllid infectivity was associated with colonization of insect salivary glands by Lso, with Lso copy numbers >10,000 per psyllid. Results of our study indicate that Lso requires a two-week latent period in potato psyllids and suggest that acquisition and transmission of Lso by psyllids follows a pattern consistent with a propagative, circulative, and persistent mode of transmission.