AbstractCitrus Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CaLas), is the most serious disease worldwide. CaLasSDE460 was previously characterized as a potential virulence factor of CaLas. However, the function and mechanism of CaLasSDE460 involved in CaLas against citrus is still elusive. Here, we showed that transgenic expression of CaLasSDE460 in Wanjincheng oranges (C. sinensis Osbeck) contributed to the early growth of CaLas and the development of symptoms. When the temperature increased from 25 °C to 32 °C, CaLas growth and symptom development in transgenic plants were slower than those in WT controls. RNA-seq analysis of transgenic plants showed that CaLasSDE460 affected multiple biological processes. At 25 °C, transcription activities of the “Protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum” and “Cyanoamino acid metabolism” pathways increased while transcription activities of many pathways decreased at 32 °C. 124 and 53 genes, separately annotated to plant-pathogen interaction and MAPK signaling pathways, showed decreased expression at 32 °C, compared with these (38 for plant-pathogen interaction and 17 for MAPK signaling) at 25 °C. Several important genes (MAPKKK14, HSP70b, NCED3 and WRKY33), remarkably affected by CaLasSDE460, were identified. Totally, our data suggested that CaLasSDE460 participated in the pathogenesis of CaLas through interfering transcription activities of citrus defense response and this interfering was temperature-dependent.
Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by “Candidatus liberibacter asiaticus” (CaLas), is one of the most devastating diseases in citrus but its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Here, we reported the role of the CaLasSDE115 (CLIBASIA_05115) effector, encoded by CaLas, during pathogen-host interactions. Bioinformatics analyses showed that CaLasSDE115 was 100% conserved in all reported CaLas strains but had sequence differences compared with orthologs from other “Candidatus liberibacter.” Prediction of protein structures suggested that the crystal structure of CaLasSDE115 was very close to that of the invasion-related protein B (IalB), a virulence factor from Bartonella henselae. Alkaline phosphatase (PhoA) assay in E. coli further confirmed that CaLasSDE115 was a Sec-dependent secretory protein while subcellular localization analyses in tobacco showed that the mature protein of SDE115 (mSDE115), without its putative Sec-dependent signal peptide, was distributed in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Expression levels of CaLasSDE115 in CaLas-infected Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) were much higher (∼45-fold) than those in CaLas-infected Wanjincheng oranges, with the expression in symptomatic leaves being significantly higher than that in asymptomatic ones. Additionally, the overexpression of mSDE115 favored CaLas proliferation during the early stages (2 months) of infection while promoting the development of symptoms. Hormone content and gene expression analysis of transgenic plants also suggested that overexpressing mSDE115 modulated the transcriptional regulation of genes involved in systemic acquired resistance (SAR) response. Overall, our data indicated that CaLasSDE115 effector contributed to the early colonization of citrus by the pathogen and worsened the occurrence of Huanglongbing symptoms, thereby providing a theoretical basis for further exploring the pathogenic mechanisms of Huanglongbing disease in citrus.