Hiroaki Koinuma, Kensaku Maejima, Ryosuke Tokuda, Yugo Kitazawa, Takamichi Nijo, Wei Wei, Kohei Kumita, Akio Miyazaki, Shigetou Namba, and Yasuyuki Yamaji


Phytoplasmas are transmitted by insect vectors in a persistent propagative manner; however, detailed movements and multiplication patterns of phytoplasmas within vectors remain elusive. In this study, spatiotemporal dynamics of onion yellows (OY) phytoplasma in its vector Macrosteles striifrons were investigated by immunohistochemistry-based 3D imaging, whole-mount fluorescence staining, and real-time quantitative PCR. The results indicated that OY phytoplasmas entered the anterior midgut epithelium by seven days after acquisition start (daas), then moved to visceral muscles surrounding the midgut and to the hemocoel at 14–21 daas; finally, OY phytoplasmas entered into type III cells of salivary glands at 21–28 daas. The anterior midgut of the alimentary canal and type III cells of salivary glands were identified as the major sites of OY phytoplasma infection. Fluorescence staining further revealed that OY phytoplasmas spread along the actin-based muscle fibers of visceral muscles and accumulated on the surfaces of salivary gland cells. This accumulation would be important for phytoplasma invasion into salivary glands, and thus for successful insect transmission. This study demonstrates the spatiotemporal dynamics of phytoplasmas in insect vectors. The findings from this study will aid in understanding of the underlying mechanism of insect-borne plant pathogen transmission.

Paper Information

: Scientific Reports
: 10.1038/s41598-020-61042-x