College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
This group is using a combination of DNA sequencing approaches to study diversity within bacterial plant pathogens impacting crops on Minnesota. They are using multilocus sequencing typing (MLST) and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) as well as high-throughput genome sequencing to meaure pathogen diversity and to identify genomic regions associated with virulence. MLSA and MLST are being applied to Xanthomonas translucens, the causal agent of bacterial leaf streak in wheat and barley, to reveal subspecific variation within isolates obtained from wheat and from barley. MLSA, MLST, and PacBio sequencing are generating new insights on a reemerging plant pathogen of corn. Several isolates of this pathogen, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis, have been obtained from Minnesota and from other corn-producing states. A subset of these, including some attenuated strains, will be sequenced to completion. Whole-genome comparisons of virulent and avirulent isolates are expected to reveal new insights on the genes required for virulence. Comparisons with genomes sequences of other subspecies of C. michiganensis can be used to develop hypothesis on the nature of host specificity among the subspecies.