MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF PHYTOPLASMAS RELATED TO PEANUT WITCHES’ BROOM AND STOLBUR GROUPS INFECTING PLUM IN IRAN
L. Zirak, M. Bahar, A. Ahoonmanesh
Japanese plum trees showing symptoms of phytoplasma disease including little leaf, leaf rolling, rosetting, yellowing and shoot proliferation were observed in stone fruits growing areas in the central regions of Iran. DNA isolated from symptomatic and healthy plum trees was used to amplify 16S rDNA and 16S-23S rDNA intergenic spacer (IS) fragments by direct and nested PCR. Phytoplasmas were detected in symptomatic plum trees in the major stone fruit production areas in ChaharMahal- O-Bakhtiari, Isfahan and Tehran provinces in central Iran. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses of fragments amplified by nested PCR revealed that the plum phytoplama isolates were genetically different from each other. Sequence analyses of part of the 16S rRNA gene and IS region indicated that the phytoplasmas associated with plum diseases in these regions belong to peanut witches’-broom (16SrII) and stolbur (16SrXII) groups. This is the first report of the presence of phytoplasmas related to stolbur (Candidatus Phytoplasma solani) and peanut WB groups in Japanese plum trees in Iran.