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Comparative genomics of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni and related xanthomonads

At a glance


Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap) causes bacterial spot and canker on a wide range of Prunus spp. (e.g., apricot, peach, plum, al-mond, cherry). Outbreaks on stone fruits can result in severe economic losses to fruit quality and yield, branch/tree dieback, and orchard devastation. Xap is endemic in the USA, NZ and is a quarantine regulated pathogen in Europe and elsewhere. Control options for this pathogen are actually quite limited and there is an increasing invasion risk with 1) climate change and 2) wide host range of this pathogen.

Despite the regulatory and economic significance of Xap, surprisingly little is known about its genetics. Genetic studies have for the most part been limited to biodiversity analysis.  We apply genomics in order to identify this invasive pathogen Achilles’ heel (e.g., virulence or fitness determinants) that can be exploited for development of improved control compounds and phytosanitary strategies. We have sequenced the complete genome of a genotypic-representative Xap strain from Europe, use our assembled genome as a template for assembly of sequences of other pathovars and are pursuing comparative genomics with other Xanthomonas species that have been sequenced.