Alternative methods to describe virulence of Erwinia amylovora and host-plant resistance against fireblight

J. Bogs, K. Richter, W. S. Kim, S. Jock, K. Geider

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13 Scopus citations


The evaluation of host-plant susceptibility to Erwinia amylovora and of colonization of host-plant tissue by individual strains was facilitated by labelling the pathogen with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Colonization of apple leaves assayed with a fluorescence microscope was associated with visual disease ratings on plants to describe virulence (= aggressiveness) of the fireblight pathogen. Resistance induced with 2,6-dichloro-isonicotinic acid (INA) and benzo(1,2,3-) thiadiazol-7-carbothioic acid-S-methyl ester (BTH, the active component of BION™) restricted colonization by the pathogen to an area adjacent to the inoculation site. Migration in leaves was associated with symptom formation on pear slices and host plants of mutant strains. Non-virulent E. amylovora mutants did not migrate into the leaf veins and strains with intermediate-to-low virulence moved slowly. To compare the migration efficiency of individual wild-type strains in apple and plum cultivars, a blend of five wild-type E. amylovora strains with specific numbers of short-sequence DNA repeats (SSRs) in the common plasmid pEA29 was applied to distinguish them by PCR. Fast-moving strains identified in the GFP assays were dominant, independent of the apple cultivar. When apple shoots, pear slices or leaves of apple plants were coinoculated with streptomycin (Sm)-resistant strains and the corresponding parent strains, Sm-resistant mutants were able to dominate the wild-type strain for tissue colonization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • BION
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Leaf assay
  • Short-sequence DNA repeats
  • Virulence


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