Localization of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum and evidence for surface appendages in the potato psyllid vector

J. M. Cicero, T. W. Fisher, J. K. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli is implicated as the vector of the causal agent of zebra chip of potato and vein-greening of tomato diseases. Until now, visual identification of bacteria in the genus Candidatus Liberibacter has relied on direct imaging by light and electron microscopy without labeling, or with whole-organ fluorescence labeling only. In this study, aldehyde fixative followed by a coagulant fixative, was used to process adult psyllids for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) colloidal gold in situ hybridization experiments. Results indicated that Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso)-specific DNA probes annealed to a bacterium that formed extensive, monocultural biofilms on gut, salivary gland, and oral region tissues, confirming that it is one morphotype of potentially others, that is rod-shaped, approximately 2.5 μ m in diameter and of variable length, and has a rough, granular cytosol. In addition, CLso, prepared from shredded midguts, and negatively stained for TEM, possessed pili- and flagella-like surface appendages. Genes implicating coding capacity for both types of surface structures are encoded in the CLso genome sequence. Neither type was seen for CLso associated with biofilms within or on digestive organs, suggesting that their production is stimulated only in certain environments, putatively, in the gut during adhesion leading to multiplication, and in hemolymph to afford systemic invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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