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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #311443

Research Project: Epidemiology and Management of Pierce's Disease and Other Maladies of Grape

Location: Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research

Title: A new paradigm for vector inoculation of Xylella fastidiosa: Direct evidence of egestion and salivation supports that sharpshooters can be “flying syringes”

item Backus, Elaine
item Shugart, Holly - University Of Florida
item Rogers, Elizabeth
item Morgan, John
item Shatters, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: CDFA Pierce's Disease Control Program Research Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2014
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Citation: Backus, E.A., Shugart, H.J., Rogers, E.E., Morgan, J.K., Shatters, R.G. 2014. A new paradigm for vector inoculation of Xylella fastidiosa: Direct evidence of egestion and salivation supports that sharpshooters can be “flying syringes”. In: Proceedings of the 2014 Pierce's Disease Symposium. p. 7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Despite nearly 70 years of research, the inoculation mechanism of Xylella fastidiosa by its sharpshooter vectors remains unproven. X. fastidiosa is unique among insect-transmitted plant pathogens because it is propagative but non-circulative, adhering to and multiplying on the cuticular lining of the anterior foregut. Thus X. fastidiosa is termed “foregut-borne.” A non-circulative mechanism for inoculation of X. fastidiosa must explain how bacterial cells exit the vector’s stylets via the food canal and directly enter the plant. A combined egestion-salivation mechanism has been proposed to explain these unique features. Egestion is the putative outward flow of fluid from the foregut via hypothesized bidirectional pumping of the cibarium (part of the foregut). The present study traced green fluorescent protein-expressing X. fastidiosa or fluorescent nanoparticles acquired from artificial diets by glassy-winged sharpshooters, Homalodisca vitripennis, as they were egested into simultaneously secreted saliva. X. fastidiosa or nanoparticles were shown to mix with gelling saliva to form fluorescent deposits and salivary sheaths on artificial diets, providing the first direct, conclusive evidence of egestion by any hemipteran insect. Therefore, the present results strongly support an egestion-salivation mechanism of X. fastidiosa inoculation. Evidence also suggests an additional model for inoculation: a column of fluid, potentially containing suspended bacteria, may be held in the foregut during the vector’s transit from plant to plant. Thus, sharpshooters could be true “flying syringes,” a new paradigm for X. fastidiosa inoculation.