The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) is a pest of citrus and the primary insect vector of the bacterial pathogen, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas), which is associated with citrus greening disease. The citrus relative Murraya paniculata (orange jasmine) is a host plant of D. citri but is more resistant to CLas compared with all tested Citrus genotypes. The effect of host switching of D. citri between Citrus medica (citron) and M. paniculata plants on the acquisition and transmission of CLas was investigated. The psyllid CLas titer and the proportion of CLas-infected psyllids decreased in the generations after transfer from CLas-infected citron to healthy M. paniculata plants. Furthermore, after several generations of feeding on M. paniculata, pathogen acquisition (20 to 40% reduction) and transmission rates (15 to 20% reduction) in psyllids transferred to CLas-infected citron were reduced compared with psyllids continually maintained on infected citron. Top-down (difference gel electrophoresis) and bottom-up (shotgun MS/MS) proteomics methods were used to identify changes in D. citri protein expression resulting from host plant switching between Citrus macrophylla and M. paniculata. Changes in expression of insect metabolism, immunity, and cytoskeleton proteins were associated with host plant switching. Both transient and sustained feeding on M. paniculata induced distinct patterns of protein expression in D. citri compared with psyllids reared on C. macrophylla. The results point to complex interactions that affect vector competence and may lead to strategies to control the spread of citrus greening disease.
Liberibacter asiaticus” is the causative bacterium associated with citrus greening disease. “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” is transmitted by
more efficiently when it is acquired by nymphs rather than adults. Why this occurs is not known. We compared midguts of
insects reared on healthy or “
. Liberibacter asiaticus”-infected citrus trees using quantitative PCR, confocal microscopy, and mitochondrial superoxide staining for evidence of oxidative stress. Consistent with its classification as propagative, “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” titers were higher in adults than in nymphs. Our previous work showed that adult
insects have basal levels of karyorrhexis (fragmentation of the nucleus) in midgut epithelial cells, which is increased in severity and frequency in response to “
. Liberibacter asiaticus.” Here, we show that nymphs exhibit lower levels of early-stage karyorrhexis than adults and are refractory to the induction of advanced karyorrhexis by “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” in the midgut epithelium. MitoSox Red staining showed that guts of infected adults, particularly males, experienced oxidative stress in response to “
. Liberibacter asiaticus.” A positive correlation between the titers of “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” and the
endosymbiont was observed in adult and nymph midguts, suggesting an interplay between these bacteria during development. We hypothesize that the resistance of the nymph midgut to late-stage karyorrhexis through as yet unknown molecular mechanisms benefits “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” for efficient invasion of midgut epithelial cells, which may be a factor explaining the developmental dependency of “
. Liberibacter asiaticus” acquisition by the vector.
AbstractCandidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium has been strongly implicated as the causative agent of huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, which is currently the most devastating citrus disease worldwide. HLB is transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), in a persistent manner. We used quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect CLas in dissected organs of individual D. citri adults infected with HLB in the laboratory or collected from field-infected citrus trees in South Florida. The proportion of infected (CLas-positive) dissected organs was 47–70% for the salivary glands, 72–80% for the alimentary canal, and 79–97.5% for the rest of the insect body. Statistical analysis indicated that, in both field- and laboratory-infected D. citri, the proportion of infected salivary glands was significantly lower than that of other parts in the insect body. With field-collected psyllids, the relative copy number of CLas genomes, compared with psyllid genomic DNA in each sample, was significantly higher in both the salivary gland and alimentary canal compared with that in the rest of the insect body for both males and females. These results provide the first PCR confirmation of CLas in the alimentary canal and salivary glands of D. citri and strongly suggest that the salivary glands constitute an important transmission barrier to CLas in the psyllid vector. Our results also suggest that CLas may replicate or accumulate in both the alimentary canal and salivary glands of D. citri.