Maize bushy stunt phytoplasma (MBSP) is a vector-borne pathogen that induces multiple morphological alterations in maize plants. Orlovskis et al. find that MBSP isolates from two maize growing regions of Southeast Brazil differ in strengths of disease symptom induction, including lateral branching.
Whole genome sequencing of the MBSP isolates identified 86 polymorphic sites, of which 45% are located in protein-coding regions. Nine polymorphisms associate with lateral branching symptoms, one of which locates in a lipoprotein-encoding effector gene and two in a lipoprotein transporter. Surprisingly, other effector genes were conserved among the isolates, including an MBSP isolate from Mexico.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Plant Immunity. It will be free access till June 2017 and after April 2018.