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A robust identification and detection assay to discriminate the cucumber pathogens Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cucumerinum and f. sp. radicis-cucumerinum

Lievens, Bart, Claes, Loes, Vakalounakis, Demetrios J., Vanachter, Alfons C.R.C., Thomma, Bart P.H.J.
Environmental microbiology 2007 v.9 no.9 pp. 2145-2161
tomatoes, host range, random amplified polymorphic DNA technique, taxonomy, avirulent strains, Fusarium oxysporum, host plants, DNA, cucumbers, pathogens, pathogen identification, host specificity, host strains, virulence, transposons, genetic markers
The fungal species Fusarium oxysporum is a ubiquitous inhabitant of soils worldwide that includes pathogenic as well as non-pathogenic or even beneficial strains. Pathogenic strains are characterized by a high degree of host specificity and strains that infect the same host range are organized in so-called formae speciales. Strains for which no host plant has been identified are believed to be non-pathogenic strains. Therefore, identification below the species level is highly desired. However, the genetic basis of host specificity and virulence in F. oxysporum is so far unknown. In this study, a robust random-amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker-based assay was developed to specifically detect and identify the economically important cucumber pathogens F. oxysporum f. sp. cucumerinum and F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerinum. While the F. oxysporum radicis-cucumerinum strains were found to cluster in a separate clade based on elongation factor-1α phylogeny, strains belonging to F. oxysporum f. sp. cucumerinum were found to be genetically more diverse. This is reflected in the observation that specificity testing of the identified markers using a broad collection of F. oxysporum strains with all known vegetative compatibility groups of the target formae speciales, as well as representative strains belonging to other formae speciales, resulted in two cross-reactions for the F. oxysporum f. sp. cucumerimum marker. However, no cross-reactions were observed for the F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerimum marker. This F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerimum marker shows homology to Folyt1, a transposable element identified in the tomato pathogen F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici and may possibly play a role in host-range specificity in the target forma specialis. The markers were implemented in a DNA array that enabled parallel and sensitive detection and identification of the pathogens in complex samples from diverse origins.