Wang, Chunxia


Publications (7)

<i>Candidatus</i> Liberibacter asiaticus accumulation in the phloem inhibits callose and reactive oxygen species

Citation
Bernardini et al. (2022). Plant Physiology 190 (2)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Subjects
Genetics Physiology Plant Science
Abstract
CLas inhibits callose deposition in the sieve pores and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species to favor its cell-to-cell movement.

<i>Candidatus</i> Liberibacter asiaticus reduces callose and reactive oxygen species production in the phloem

Citation
Bernardini et al. [posted content, 2022]
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Abstract
AbstractHuanglongbing (HLB) causes significant economic loss in citrus production worldwide. HLB is caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), a gram-negative bacterium which inhabits the phloem exclusively. CLas infection results in accumulation of callose and reactive oxygen species in the phloem of infected plants, but little is known about the specific processes that take place during infection because of the sparse distribution of bacteria and the inaccessibility of the phloem inside the tree. In this study, we used the seed vasculatures, which accumulate a high number of CLas, as a model tissue to study CLas-host cellular interactions. In vasculature where CLas is abundant, sieve pore callose and H2O2 concentration were reduced compared to healthy seed vasculature. The expression of callose synthases (CalS) and respiratory burst oxidase homolog (RBOH) genes were downregulated in infected seeds compared to healthy ones. In leaves of HLB-infected plants, H2O2 concentration and CalS expression increased compared to uninfected leaves, but cells with CLas had lower levels of sieve plate callose compared to cells without CLas. Our results provide evidence that the bacteria manipulate cell metabolism to disable plant defenses and suggests that HLB disease is the result of a constant arms-race between the pathogen and a defense response, which is ultimately harmful to the host plant.

Transcriptome Profiling of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ in Citrus and Psyllids

Citation
De Francesco et al. (2022). Phytopathology® 112 (1)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Subjects
Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
Abstract
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las) is an emergent bacterial pathogen that is associated with the devastating citrus huanglongbing (HLB). Vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Las colonizes the phloem tissue of citrus, causing severe damage to infected trees. So far, cultivating pure Las culture in axenic media has not been successful, and dual-transcriptome analyses aiming to profile gene expression in both Las and its hosts have a low coverage of the Las genome because of the low abundance of bacterial RNA in total RNA extracts from infected tissues. Therefore, a lack of understanding of the Las transcriptome remains a significant knowledge gap. Here, we used a bacterial cell enrichment procedure and confidently determined the expression profiles of approximately 84% of the Las genes. Genes that exhibited high expression in citrus include transporters, ferritin, outer membrane porins, specific pilins, and genes involved in phage-related functions, cell wall modification, and stress responses. We also found 106 genes to be differentially expressed in citrus versus Asian citrus psyllids. Genes related to transcription or translation and resilience to host defense response were upregulated in citrus, whereas genes involved in energy generation and the flagella system were expressed to higher levels in psyllids. Finally, we determined the relative expression levels of potential Sec-dependent effectors, which are considered as key virulence factors of Las. This work advances our understanding of HLB biology and offers novel insight into the interactions of Las with its plant host and insect vector.

Canopy health, but not Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus Ct values, are correlated with fruit yield in Huanglongbing affected sweet orange trees

Citation
Levy et al. [posted content, 2021]
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Abstract
AbstractIn Florida, almost all citrus trees are infected with Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by the gram-negative, intracellular phloem limited bacteria Candidatus liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). Distinguishing between the severely and mildly sick trees is important for managing the groves and testing new HLB therapies. A mildly sick tree is one that produces higher fruit yield, compared to a severely sick tree, but measuring yields is laborious and time consuming. Here we characterized HLB affected sweet orange trees in the field in order to identify the specific traits that are correlated with the yields. We found that canopy volume, fruit detachment force (FDF) and the percentage of photosynthetically active radiation interception in the canopy (%INT) were positively correlated with fruit yields. Specifically, %INT measurements accurately distinguished between mild and severe trees in independent field trials. We could not find a difference in the Ct value between high and low producing HLB trees. Moreover, Ct values did not always agree with the number of CLas in the phloem that were visualized by transmission electron microscopy. Overall, our work identified an efficient way to distinguish between severe and mild HLB trees in Florida by measuring %INT and suggests that health of the canopy is more important for yields than the Ct value.

Transcriptome profiling of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus in citrus and psyllids

Citation
De Francesco et al. [posted content, 2021]
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Abstract
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) is an emergent bacterial pathogen that is associated with the devastating citrus Huanglongbing (HLB). Vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Las colonizes the phloem tissue of citrus, causing severe damage to infected trees. So far, cultivating pure Las culture in axenic media has not been successful and dual-transcriptome analyses aiming to profile gene expression in both Las and its host(s) have a low coverage of the Las genome due to the low abundance of bacterial RNA in total RNA extracts from infected tissues. Therefore, the lack of a Las transcriptome remains as a significant knowledge gap. Here, we used a bacterial cell enrichment procedure and confidently determined the expression profiles of approximately 84% of the Las genes. Genes that exhibited the highest expression levels in citrus include ion transporters, ferritin, outer membrane porins, and genes involved in phage-related functions, pilus formation, cell wall modification, and stress responses. One hundred and six genes were found to be differentially expressed in citrus vs psyllids. Genes related to transcription/translation and resilience to host defense response were upregulated in citrus; whereas genes involved in energy generation and the flagella system were expressed to higher levels in psyllids. We also determined the relative expression levels of potential Sec-dependent effectors, which are considered as key virulence factors of Las. This work advances our understanding of HLB biology and offers novel insight into the interactions of Las with its plant host and insect vector.

A Transcriptomics Approach Reveals Putative Interaction of Candidatus Liberibacter Solanacearum with the Endoplasmic Reticulum of Its Psyllid Vector

Citation
Ghosh et al. (2019). Insects 10 (9)
Names
Liberibacter “Liberibacter solanacearum” Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Subjects
Insect Science
Abstract
Candidatus Liberibacter solanacerum (CLso), transmitted by Bactericera trigonica in a persistent and propagative mode causes carrot yellows disease, inflicting hefty economic losses. Understanding the process of transmission of CLso by psyllids is fundamental to devise sustainable management strategies. Persistent transmission involves critical steps of adhesion, cell invasion, and replication before passage through the midgut barrier. This study uses a transcriptomic approach for the identification of differentially expressed genes with CLso infection in the midguts, adults, and nymphs of B. trigonica and their putative involvement in CLso transmission. Several genes related to focal adhesion and cellular invasion were upregulated after CLso infection. Interestingly, genes involved with proper functionality of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) were upregulated in CLso infected samples. Notably, genes from the endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation (ERAD) and the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway were overexpressed after CLso infection. Marker genes of the ERAD and UPR pathways were also upregulated in Diaphorina citri when infected with Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). Upregulation of the ERAD and UPR pathways indicate induction of ER stress by CLso/CLas in their psyllid vector. The role of ER in bacteria–host interactions is well-documented; however, the ER role following pathogenesis of CLso/CLas is unknown and requires further functional validation.