Development of a Tandem Repeat-Based Polymerase Chain Displacement Reaction Method for Highly Sensitive Detection of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’

Lou et al. (2018). Phytopathology® 108 (2)
Names (1)
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
Huanglongbing (HLB) is one of the most destructive diseases in citrus production worldwide. Early detection of HLB pathogens can facilitate timely removal of infected citrus trees in the field. However, low titer and uneven distribution of HLB pathogens in host plants make reliable detection challenging. Therefore, the development of effective detection methods with high sensitivity is imperative. This study reports the development of a novel method, tandem repeat-based polymerase chain displacement reaction (TR-PCDR), for the detection of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, a widely distributed HLB-associated bacterium. A uniquely designed primer set (TR2-PCDR-F/TR2-PCDR-1R) and a thermostable Taq DNA polymerase mutant with strand displacement activity were used for TR-PCDR amplification. Performed in a regular thermal cycler, TR-PCDR could produce more than two amplicons after each amplification cycle. Sensitivity of the developed TR-PCDR was 10 copies of target DNA fragment. The sensitive level was proven to be 100× higher than conventional PCR and similar to real-time PCR. Data from the detection of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ with filed samples using the above three methods also showed similar results. No false-positive TR-PCDR amplification was observed from healthy citrus samples and water controls. These results thereby illustrated that the developed TR-PCDR method can be applied to the reliable, highly sensitive, and cost-effective detection of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’.
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