FitoDigIt

Innovative technologies to re-design a sustainable defence against grapevine Flavescence doré

This project aims to investigate phytoplasma infection mechanisms, focusing on grapevine Flavescence dorée (FD) and Chrysanthemum yellows (CY), in the specific tissues of plant host and insect vector involved in the infection process. The project will integrate different innovative technologies, such as RNA Deep Sequencing (RNA-seq), Laser Microdissection (LMD) and digital PCR (dPCR), to describe the infection process lead by two phylogenetically different phytoplasmas studied in vivo, at single host cell level, in the same plant species (Arabidospis thaliana) and insect vector (Euscelidius variegatus). RNA-seq results will give indications on differential gene regulation operated by plant and insect in response to the pathogen presence, as well as by the two phytoplasmas to adapt to different host. RNA-seq data will also provide useful information on the gene sequences of vector E. variegatus, whose genome is not yet available, and phytoplasmas FD and CY, whose genomes are not yet fully known. Differential gene expression described by RNA-seq will be then confirmed at single host cell level by LMD and dPCR. The Project results will allow to investigate the host response to the pathogen, as well as the alteration induced by different phytoplasmas in the same host. This study will clarify the key mechanisms involved in the infection process, providing innovative evidences that can be used to interfere with the epidemiological cycle, providing additional tools to integrate/replace insecticide treatments and developing a more sustainable disease management.

Research staff

Research activity

  • Production defense and biosafety