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Sequences essential for transmission of Spiroplasma citri by its leafhopper vector, Circulifer haematoceps, revealed by plasmid curing and replacement based on incompatibility.

Breton, Marc; Duret, Sybille; Danet, Jean-Luc; Dubrana, Marie-Pierre; Renaudin, Joël.
Appl Environ Microbiol ; 76(10): 3198-205, 2010 May.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20305023
Spiroplasma citri GII3 contains highly related low-copy-number plasmids pSci1 to -6. Despite the strong similarities between their replication regions, these plasmids coexist in the spiroplasma cells, indicating that they are mutually compatible. The pSci1 to -6 plasmids encode the membrane proteins known as S. citri adhesion-related proteins (ScARPs) (pSci1 to -5) and the hydrophilic protein P32 (pSci6), which had been tentatively associated with insect transmission, as they were not detected in non-insect-transmissible strains. With the aim of further investigating the role of plasmid-encoded determinants in insect transmission, we have constructed S. citri mutant strains that differ in their plasmid contents by developing a plasmid curing/replacement strategy based on the incompatibility of plasmids having identical replication regions. Experimental transmission of these S. citri plasmid mutants through injection into the leafhopper vector Circulifer haematoceps revealed that pSci6, more precisely, the pSci6_06 coding sequence, encoding a protein of unknown function, was essential for transmission. In contrast, ScARPs and P32 were dispensable for both acquisition and transmission of the spiroplasmas by the leafhopper vector, even though S. citri mutants lacking pSci1 to -5 (encoding ScARPs) were acquired and transmitted at lower efficiencies than the wild-type strain GII3.