A spontaneous Roller mutation in Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner & Buhrer, 1934) Nickle, 1970 (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae)

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Summary

The first spontaneous morphological/anatomical and behavioural mutation Bxy-rol(tom3) has been identified and characterised in the pine wood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The mutation is recessive to its wild-type counterpart. The mutant phenotype designated as Roller (Rol) is distinctive for the helical twist of the whole body around its longitudinal axis. The twist of the nematode body wall cuticle is followed by a similar twist of hypodermis, muscles and other organs and cuticular structures. These morphological and anatomical changes are responsible for the altered pattern of the nematode movement. Besides these changes, the Bxy-rol(tom3) mutation does not visibly affect any other essential character or function of B. xylophilus. Both wild-type and Rol nematodes present similar morphometrics, life cycle length, and reproductive potential. The Rol mutant easily cross-bred with individuals from any other tested strains/isolates of B. xylophilus and produced viable intra-specific hybrid offspring in vitro, on B. cinerea/potato dextrose agar plates. The mutants also seem to be well adapted to the nematode’s natural environment in pine wood. They dispersed inside pine seedlings, successfully mated, produced stable and fully viable offspring in this environment, and were as pathogenic to the host tree as the wild-type B. xylophilus. Potential of the characterised mutation as a marker for direct comparative study on strain/species reproductive compatibility, competition for space, food and vector insect, and for intra- and inter-specific hybridisation of B. xylophilus and B. mucronatus, is discussed.

A spontaneous Roller mutation in Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner & Buhrer, 1934) Nickle, 1970 (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae)

in Nematology

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References

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Figures

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    Origin and GenBank accession numbers of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus strains used in the screening for spontaneous mutants and cross-breeding with the Roller mutant Bxy-rol(tom3).

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    Morphometrics of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus wild-type (Pt67OL) and Roller mutant, Bxy-rol(tom3), adults extracted from in vitro cultures on Botrytis cinerea. All measurements are in μm and in the form: mean ± s.d. (range).

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    Morphology and movement tracks of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. A-C: Wild-type females (Pt67OL); A: Lateral field (Lf) with four incisures (arrow) parallel to body axis (SEM); B, C: Muscle blocks parallel to body axis (light-DIC); D-J: Roller mutant, Bxy-rol(tom3); D, E: Whole nematode (SEM); D: Female; E: Male; F-H: Heat-relaxed female; F, G: Helically twisted body and distinct lateral fields oblique to body axis (SEM); F: Whole nematode; G: Mid-body region, lateral field (Lf) (arrow); H: Posterior body region with vulva (Vu) and anus (An) located on opposite sides of the body (arrows) (somewhat flattened, light-DIC); I, J: Muscle blocks oblique to body axis (light-DIC); K-N: Range of movement tracks left on 2% agarose substrate (light-DIC): K: Wild-type nematodes (Pt67OL); L-N: Roller mutant Bxy-rol(tom3).

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    Mean number ± S.D. of adult nematodes obtained in F2 generation offspring of intra-specific cross breeding between the Roller mutant, Bxy-rol(tom3), and other wild-type strains of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus.

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    Distribution of wild-type (Pt67OL) and Roller mutant, Bxrol-1(tom3), of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus in 3-year-old seedlings of Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, dissected shortly after being killed by the nematodes within 8 weeks after inoculation into the stem, ca 5 cm above soil level.

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