Andreina I. Castillo; Carlos Chacón-Díaz; Neysa Rodríguez-Murillo; Helvecio D. Coletta-Filho; and Rodrigo P. P. Almeida.
20 May 2020
Background: Pathogens with a global distribution face diverse biotic and abiotic conditions across populations. Moreover, the ecological and evolutionary history of each population is unique. Xylella fastidiosa is a xylem-dwelling bacterium infecting multiple plant hosts, often with detrimental effects. As a group, X. fastidiosa is divided into distinct subspecies with allopatric historical distributions and patterns of multiple introductions from numerous source populations. The capacity of X. fastidiosa to successfully colonize and cause disease in naïve plant hosts varies among subspecies, and potentially, among populations. Within Central America (i.e. Costa Rica) two X. fastidiosa subspecies coexist: the native subsp. fastidiosa and the introduced subsp. pauca. Using whole genome sequences, the patterns of gene gain/loss, genomic introgression, and genetic diversity were characterized within Costa Rica and contrasted to other X. fastidiosa populations.
Results: Within Costa Rica, accessory and core genome analyses showed a highly malleable genome with numerous intra- and inter-subspecific gain/loss events. Likewise, variable levels of inter-subspecific introgression were found within and between both coexisting subspecies; nonetheless, the direction of donor/recipient subspecies to the recombinant segments varied. Some strains appeared to recombine more frequently than others; however, no group of genes or gene functions were overrepresented within recombinant segments. Finally, the patterns of genetic diversity of subsp. fastidiosa in Costa Rica were consistent with those of other native populations (i.e. subsp. pauca in Brazil).
Conclusions: Overall, this study shows the importance of characterizing local evolutionary and ecological history in the context of world-wide pathogen distribution.