Talia L. Karasov, Juliana Almario, Claudia Friedemann
bioRxiv, vol. , 241760, 2018
Crop disease outbreaks are often associated with clonal expansions of single pathogenic lineages. To determine whether similar boom-and-bust scenarios hold for wild plant pathogens, we carried out a multi-year multi-site survey of Pseudomonas in the natural host Arabidopsis thaliana. The most common Pseudomonas lineage corresponded to a pathogenic clade present in all sites. Sequencing of 1,524 Pseudomonas genomes revealed this lineage to have diversified approximately 300,000 years ago, containing dozens of genetically distinct pathogenic sublineages. These sublineages have expanded in parallel within the same populations and are differentiated both at the level of gene content and disease phenotype. Such coexistence of diverse sublineages indicates that in contrast to crop systems, no single strain has been able to overtake these A. thaliana populations in the recent past. Our results suggest that the selective pressures acting on a plant pathogen in wild hosts may be more complex than those in agricultural systems.