Nature Scientific Reports
Scientific Reports volume 13, Article number: 18863 (2023)
Dickeya solani is an economically significant pectinolytic phytopathogen belonging to the Pectobacteriaceae family, which causes soft rot and blackleg diseases. Despite its notable impact on global potato production, there are no effective methods to control this pest. Here, we undertook a phyloproteomic study on 20 D. solani strains, of various origin and year of isolation, with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) supported by an in-depth characterization of the strains in terms of the virulence-associated phenotype. In spite of high homogeneity in this species, we herein revealed for the first time intraspecies variation in the MALDI-TOF MS protein profiles among the studied D. solani isolates. Finally, representative mass spectra for the four delineated clades are presented. A majority of the analysed D. solani strains showed high virulence potential, while two strains stood out in their growth dynamics, virulence factors production and ability to macerate plant tissue. Nonetheless, the metabolic profiles of D. solani strains turned out to be uniform, except for gelatinase activity. Given that all D. solani isolates distinctly grouped from the other Dickeya species in the MALDI-TOF MS analysis, there is strong evidence supporting the potential routine use of this method for fast and reliable to-species identification of D. solani isolates of environmental origin.