Phylogeny of the Genus Synchytrium and the Development of TaqMan PCR Assay for Sensitive Detection of Synchytrium endobioticum in Soil


Smith, D.S., Rocheleau, H.J., Rocheleau, H., Chapados, J.T., Abbott, C.L., Ribero, S., Redhead, S.A., Lévesque, C.A., and De Boer, S.H. (2013). "Phylogeny of the genus Synchytrium and the development of a real-time TaqMan PCR assay for sensitive detection of Synchytrium endobioticum sporangia in the chloroform flotation fraction of sieved field soil.", The Western Producer, 104(4), pp. 422-432. doi : 10.1094/PHYTO-05-13-0144-R


Potato wart, caused by the fungal pathogen Synchytrium endobioticum, is a serious disease with the potential to cause significant economic damage. The small subunit (SSU) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) were sequenced for several Synchytrium spp., showing a high rate of variability for both of these markers among the different species and monophyly of the genus within phylum Chytridiomycota. The intergenic nontranscribed spacer (IGS) of rDNA was sequenced for different pathotypes and showed no intraspecific variation within S. endobioticum, similar to the other rDNA markers from this study. To facilitate screening for the pathogen in soil, three TaqMan polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were developed from SSU, ITS, and IGS rDNA sequences to detect S. endobioticum sporangia in the chloroform-flotation fraction of sieved soil extracts. In the screening portion of the method, a first TaqMan assay targeting the SSU rDNA was developed with positive results that were further confirmed with amplicon melt analysis. A synthetic reaction control cloned into a plasmid was incorporated into the procedure, facilitating the validation of negative results. The presence of the reaction control did not adversely affect the efficiency of the SSU target amplification. A second TaqMan assay targeting the ITS-1 region was developed as a confirmatory test. There was 100% accordance between the SSU and ITS-1 TaqMan assays. Utilizing these two assays in tandem achieved good specificity for S. endobioticum, generating negative results with the cloned SSU and ITS-1 regions from all 14 other Synchytrium spp. considered. Spike recovery experiments indicated that these assays, targeting the SSU and ITS-1 rDNA regions, developed from a phylogeny dataset of the genus, could reliably detect a single sporangium in the chloroform flotation fraction of a soil extract. Good correlation between microscopic detection of sporangia and PCR results in both positive and negative soil samples was dually demonstrated for both the SSU and ITS-1 assays. © 2014 Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

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