Citrus greening disease was first reported in Saudi Arabia during the 1970’s when characteristic foliar and fruit symptoms were observed in commercial citrus groves, however, “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas) was not detected in symptomatic trees until 1981-1984 when CLas-like cells were observed by transmission electron microscopy in leaves collected from symptomatic citrus groves in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Despite the anticipated establishment of the CLas-Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama) pathosystem, CLas presence has not been verified in suspect trees nor have ACP infestations been documented. Given the recent expansion of citrus production in Saudi Arabia, a systematic country-wide survey was carried out to determine the potential CLas distribution in the thirteen citrus-growing regions of the country. Citrus trees were surveyed for presence of CLas-psyllid vector(s) and characteristic disease symptoms in commercial and urban citrus trees. Adult psyllids collected from infested citrus trees were identified as ACP based on morphological characteristics. Real-time, quantitative PCR amplification (qPCR) of the CLas β-subunit of the ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) gene from citrus leaf and fruit samples and/or ACP adults, revealed trees were positive for CLas detection in ten of the 13 survey regions, however, CLas was undetectable in ACP adults. Phylogenetic and SNPs analyses of a PCR-amplified, cloned fragment of the CLas 16S rRNA gene (~1.1 kbp) indicated Saudi Arabian isolates were most closely related to Florida, USA isolates. Analysis of climate variables indicated that the distribution of the ACP-CLas pathosystem observed in Saudi Arabia was consistent with published predictions of terrains most likely to support establishment.
In Saudi Arabia (SA), the citrus greening disease is caused by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) Diaphorina citri. The origin and route(s) of the ACP-CLas pathosystem invasion in SA have not been studied. Adult ACP were collected from citrus trees in SA and differentiated by analysis of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) and nuclear copper transporting protein (atox1) genes. A phylogenetic analysis of the Wolbachia spp. surface protein (wsp) gene was used to identify the ACP-associated Wolbachia spp. A phylogenetic analysis of the atox1 and mtCOI gene sequences revealed one predominant ACP haplotype most closely related to the Indian subcontinent founder populations. The detection and identification of CLas in citrus trees were carried out by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and sequencing of the 16S rDNA gene. The CLas-integrated prophage genomes were sequenced, annotated, and used to differentiate CLas populations. The ML and ASTRAL trees reconstructed with prophages type 1 and 2 genome sequences, separately and concatenated, resolved two major lineages, CLas-1 and -2. The CLas-1 clade, reported here for the first time, consisted of isolates from SA isolates and Pakistan. The CLas-2 sequences formed two groups, CLas-2-1 and -2-2, previously the ‘Asiatic’ and ‘Floridian’ strains, respectively. Members of CLas-2-1 originated from Southeast Asia, the USA, and other worldwide locations, while CLas-2-2 was identified only in Florida. This study provides the first snapshot into the status of the ACP-CLas pathosystem in SA. In addition, the results provide new insights into the pathosystem coevolution and global invasion histories of two ACP-CLas lineages with a predicted center of origin in South and Southeast Asia, respectively.
Previous studies have shown that the fastidious bacterial plant pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (CLso) is transmitted circulatively and propagatively by the potato psyllid (PoP) Bactericera cockerelli. In this study, the temporal and spatial interrelationships between CLso PoP were investigated by scanning electron microscopy of the digestive system of PoP immature and adult instars and salivary glands of adults post CLso ingestion. CLso biofilms were not detectable on the outer midgut surface of the first and second instars; however, for third to fifth instars and teneral and mature adults, biofilms were observed in increasing numbers in each successive developmental stage. In adult PoP midguts, CLso cells were observed between the basal lamina and basal epithelial cell membranes; in basal laminar perforations, on the outer basal laminar surface, and in the ventricular lumen, epithelial cytosol, and filter chamber periventricular space. CLso were also abundantly visible in the salivary gland pericellular spaces and in the epidermal cell cytosol of the head. Collectively, these results point to an intrusive, systemic invasion of PoP by CLso that employs an endo/exocytosis-like mechanism, in the context of a propagative, circulative mode of transmission.