Pathotypes in the Entomophaga Grylli Species Complex of Grasshopper Pathogens Differentiated With Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA and Cloned DNA Probes

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Applied and Environmental Microbiology





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The zygomycetous fungus Entomophaga grylli is a pathogen that shows host-specific variance to grasshopper subfamilies. Three pathotypes of the E. grylli species complex were differentiated by three molecular techniques. In the first method, the three pathotypes showed different fragment patterns generated by random amplifica- tion of polymorphic DNA (RAPD). There was little or no interisolate variability in RAPD fragment patterns within each pathotype. Passage of an isolate of pathotype 3, originally from an Australian grasshopper (Praxibulus sp.), through a North American grasshopper resulted in no differences in the resultant RAPD fragment patterns. In the second method, polymorphic RAPD fragments were used to probe the genomic DNA from the three pathotypes, and pathotype-specific fragments were found. In the third method, restriction fragments from genomic DNA of the three pathotypes were cloned and screened for pathotype specificity. A genomic probe specific for each pathotype was isolated. These probes did not hybridize to DNA from Ento- mophaga aulicae or from grasshoppers. To facilitate the use of RAPD analysis and other molecular tools to identify pathotypes, a method for extracting DNA from resting spores from infected grasshoppers was devel- oped. The DNA from the fractured resting spores was of sufficient integrity to be blotted and probed with the pathotype-specific DNA probes, thus validating the use of these probes for pathotype identification in field- collected grasshoppers.

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