Improving the Comprehension of Pathogenicity and Phylogeny in ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma meliae’ through Genome Characterization

Fernández et al. (2024). Microorganisms 12 (1)
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Microbiology Microbiology (medical) Virology
‘Candidatus Phytoplasma meliae’ is a pathogen associated with chinaberry yellowing disease, which has become a major phytosanitary problem for chinaberry forestry production in Argentina. Despite its economic impact, no genome information of this phytoplasma has been published, which has hindered its characterization at the genomic level. In this study, we used a metagenomics approach to analyze the draft genome of the ‘Ca. P. meliae’ strain ChTYXIII. The draft assembly consisted of twenty-one contigs with a total length of 751.949 bp, and annotation revealed 669 CDSs, 34 tRNAs, and 1 set of rRNA operons. The metabolic pathways analysis showed that ChTYXIII contains the complete core genes for glycolysis and a functional Sec system for protein translocation. Our phylogenomic analysis based on 133 single-copy genes and genome-to-genome metrics supports the classification as unique ‘Ca. P. species’ within the MPV clade. We also identified 31 putative effectors, including a homolog to SAP11 and others that have only been described in this pathogen. Our ortholog analysis revealed 37 PMU core genes in the genome of ‘Ca. P. meliae’ ChTYXIII, leading to the identification of 2 intact PMUs. Our work provides important genomic information for ‘Ca. P. meliae’ and others phytoplasmas for the 16SrXIII (MPV) group.
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