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.
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.