Pathogenesis in Pine Wilt Caused by Pinewood Nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus


  • Ronald F. Myers


The progression of events in the development of pine wilt disease following the invasion by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is reviewed from early migration through pine tissues until symptom development on foliage. Disease resistance in pines, especially the hypersensitive reaction that is successful in controlling many potential pests and pathogens, is explored. Pathologies resulting from the activities of pinewood nematode include cortical trails and cavities; formation of cambial gaps and traumatic resin cysts; browning and death of cortex, phloem, cambium, and ray tissues; granulation and shrinkage of cell cytoplasm in rays; and destruction of resin canal epithelial and ray parenchyma cells. Death of parenchyma, production of toxins, and leakage of oleoresins and other material into tracheids are typical of the hypersensitive reaction occurring in pines following migration of small numbers of pinewood nematodes. The hypothesis presented is that a spreading hypersensitive reaction results in some of the observed pathologies and symptoms and eventually causes pine death. The growth-differentiation balance hypothesis is used to help explain predisposition, oleoresin production and toxicity, susceptibility and resistance, and the effects of variation in climate on host pines as related to pinewilt disease. Key words: Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, pathogenesis, pathology, pine wilt disease, pinewood nematode.