Location: Molecular Plant Pathology LaboratoryTitle: Plant stem cell pluripotency and phytoplasma-induced alterations of plant morphogenesis
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Phytoplasmas are insect-transmitted, cell wall-less bacteria that parasitize plant phloem sieve elements. Nearly a thousand diverse plant species are known to be susceptible to phytoplasma infections and develop diseases with abnormal growth patterns. In a previous study, we characterized four mutually distinct symptoms that were sequentially induced by potato purple top (PPT) phytoplasma infection in a normal flowering tomato line. We constructed a working model, depicting pathogen-induced modifications of plant morphogenesis and linking each symptom to a stage-specific derailment of the genetically preprogrammed fate of shoot apical meristem cells. In the present study, using an early flowering tomato line, we identified several new symptom types and revealed additional phases of the PPT phytoplasma-induced changes in meristem destiny. Our new findings further highlight the pluripotency of plant stem cells and extend our initial working model for understanding plant growth and development under both normal and pathological conditions. Our findings also present possibilities for exploiting phytoplasma as a biotechnological tool to manipulate phenotypes of ornamental plants.