Friday, 28 October 2016

Understanding pine wilt disease: roles of the pine endophytic bacteria and of the bacteria carried by the disease-causing pinewood nematode.

2016 Oct 26. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.415. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

  • 1CEMUC, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
  • 2Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.
  • 3Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany.
  • 4CEMUC, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
  • 5Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


Pine wilt disease (PWD) is one of the most destructive diseases in trees of the genus Pinus and is responsible for environmental and economic losses around the world. The only known causal agent of the disease is the pinewood nematode (PWN) Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. Despite that, bacteria belonging to several different genera have been found associated with PWN and their roles in the development of PWD have been suggested. Molecular methodologies and the new era of genomics have revealed different perspectives to the problem, recognizing the manifold interactions between different organisms involved in the disease. Here, we reviewed the possible roles of nematode-carried bacteria in PWD, what could be the definition of this group of microorganisms and questioned their origin as possible endophytes, discussing their relation within the endophytic community of pine trees. The diversity of the nematode-carried bacteria and the diversity of pine tree endophytes, reported until now, is revised in detail in this review. What could signify a synergetic effect with PWN harming the plant, or what could equip bacteria with functions to control the presence of nematodes inside the tree, is outlined as two possible roles of the microbial community in the etiology of this disease. An emphasis is put on the potential revealed by the genomic data of isolated organisms in their potential activities as effective tools in PWD management.


Bursaphelenchus xylophilus ; bacteria; biocontrol; endophytes; nematodes; pine wilt disease