Early blight (EB) and leaf blight are two destructive diseases of tomato in North Carolina (NC), caused by Alternaria linariae and A. alternata, respectively. During the last decade, EB caused by A. solani has increased in potato-producing areas in Wisconsin (WI).
In a recent study, 152 isolates of three Alternaria spp. associated with tomato and potato in NC and WI were collected, and the gene genealogical approach was used to compare the genetic relationships among them. Two nuclear genes: the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH), RNA polymerase second largest subunit (RPB2), and the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of these isolates were sequenced.
Besides, sequences of the GPDH locus from international isolates described in previous studies were included for comparison purposes. A set of single nucleotide polymorphisms was assembled to identify locus-specific and species-specific haplotypes. Nucleotide diversity varied among gene sequences and species analyzed. For example, the estimates of nucleotide diversity and Watterson’s theta were higher in A. alternata than in A. linariae and A. solani.
There was little or no polymorphisms in the ITS sequences and thus restricted haplotype placement. The RPB2 sequences were less informative to detect haplotype diversity in A. linariae and A. solani, yet six haplotypes were detected in A. alternata. The GPDH sequences enabled strongly supported phylogenetic inferences with the highest haplotype diversity and belonged to five haplotypes (AaH1 to AaH5), which consisted of only A. alternata from NC.
However, 13 haplotypes were identified within and among A. linariae and A. solani sequences. Among them, six (AsAlH1 to AsAlH6) were identical to previously reported haplotypes in global samples and the remaining were new haplotypes. The most divergent haplotypes were AaH1, AsAlH2/AsAlH3, and AsAlH4 and consisted exclusively of A. alternata, A. linariae, and A. solani, respectively. Neutrality tests suggested an excess of mutations and population expansion, and selection may play an important role in nucleotide diversity of Alternaria spp.
Source: APS Publications.