Diversity of endosymbionts in the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Triozidae), vector of zebra chip disease of potato. Academic Article uri icon


  • Zebra chip disease is an emerging, serious disease of solanaceous crops and the causal agent is a bacterium "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" (CLs), also known as "Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous", which is transmitted by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (ulc). We performed bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP) of the 16S rDNA genes to determine the bacterial microbiota in adult insects from CLs-uninfected and CLs-infected strains of B. cockerelli and potato leaf samples. We obtained sequences from five bacterial species among the two psyllid strains, including "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii", Wolbachia, CLs, and two transient bacteria, Acinetobacter and Methylibium. We did not detect any common bacteria between psyllids and potato leaf samples using pyrosequencing. We performed PCR analysis using species-specific 16S rDNA primers to confirm pyrosequencing results in individual psyllids including eggs, early-instars, late-instars, and adults of both sexes from both CLs-uninfected and CLs-infected psyllid strains. The primary endosymbiont, "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii" and Wolbachia were detected in all life-stages and sexes of both strains using PCR analyses. The percentage of CLs-infected individuals increased from early-instar (0%), late-instar (40%) until adulthood (60%) in the CLs-infected strain. We believe that CLs levels in early-instars are probably too low to be detected by standard PCR. Using PCR analyses, we confirmed the presence of Acinetobacter in CLs-uninfected and CLs-infected adults (75 and 25%, respectively) but not Methylibium. Further, we detected Acinetobacter in potato leaves using PCR indicating that the psyllids may have acquired this bacterium via feeding on the host plant.

published proceedings

  • Curr Microbiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Nachappa, P., Levy, J., Pierson, E., & Tamborindeguy, C.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Nachappa, Punya||Levy, Julien||Pierson, Elizabeth||Tamborindeguy, Cecilia

publication date

  • January 2011