Genomic variability of Pantoea ananatis in maize white spot lesions assessed by AFLP markers.
Measures to control maize white spot (MWS) caused by Pantoea ananatis are preferentially based on resistant cultivars. A lack of knowledge on the genetic variability of pathogens could interfere with the development and utilization of controlling strategies in this pathosystem. The main goals of this study were to investigate the genetic variability of 90 P. ananatis isolates from three different eco-geographical regions of Brazil by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), and to determine the presence of a universal P. ananatis plasmid in isolates from tropical Brazil. Analysis of genetic similarity by AFLP allowed us to categorize the 90 isolates into two groups. However, no correlation between the collecting sites and genetic groupings was observed. The polymorphism percentage found in P. ananatis ranged between 24.64 and 92.46%, and genetic diversity was calculated to be 0.07-0.09. The analysis of molecular variance showed that 99.18% of genetic variability was within the populations, providing evidence that evolutionary forces were acting on these populations. All P. ananatis isolates showed the P. ananatis universal plasmid (280 or 352 kb). This is the first report on the presence of a universal P. ananatis plasmid from MWS lesions in the tropical area.