Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis (Cmm) strains, collected during the last decade from different locations in Israel, were analyzed by macrorestriction pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Fifty-eight strains from Israel and 18 from other sources were differentiated into 11 haplotypes with either VspI or DraI restriction enzymes. The strains from Israel formed four distinct groups among which groups A (16 strains) and B (32 strains) constituted the major clusters. These two groups originated from the Besor region, which is the main area for growing tomatoes under cover. Rep-PCR, with either ERIC or BOX primers, confirmed results obtained by PFGE. PCR with primers based on three genes - ppaA, chpC and tomA - that spanned the pathogenicity island of the reference strain NCPPB382, produced the expected products with the tested pathogenic strains. Plasmid analysis of representative strains revealed different profiles of one or two plasmids. However all the strains, including five non-pathogenic ones, reacted positively in PCR with primers based on celA gene, which resides on the plasmid pCM1 of NCPPB382. Southern hybridization of total DNA with a 3.2-kb BglII-fragment of pCM1 containing the celA gene was positive when carried out with 31 strains, but the size of the reacting band was not always the same as that of pCM1, suggesting that the plasmids carrying celA may differ in size. Comparison between the colonization rates of strain Cmm42 (group A) and of Cmm32 (group B) did not show any significant differences. The high diversity of the Cmm strains, on the one hand, and the presence of two persistent groups in the Besor region, on the other hand, suggests that the primary inoculum originated each year from residual plants in the soil rather than from infested seeds, in spite of extensive control measures taken by the growers in this area.
- Bacterial canker