Temporal Dynamics of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus Titer in Mature Leaves from Citrus sinensis cv Valencia Are Associated with Vegetative Growth

Ibanez, Stelinski (2019). Journal of Economic Entomology 113 (2)
Names (2)
Liberibacter Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Ecology General Medicine Insect Science
Abstract Huanglongbing, a highly destructive disease of citrus species, is associated with a fastidious, gram-negative, phloem-limited bacteria (Candidatus Liberibacter spp.). In Florida, the causative agent of Huanglongbing (HLB) is C. Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) and it is transmitted by the insect vector, Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama). Previous investigations have revealed systemic infection of CLas with an erratic and uneven distribution of pathogen in tree phloem. However, previous investigations did not consider the potential impact of plant vegetative growth on presence/absence of CLas in planta. Our objectives were to determine: 1) the effect of vegetative growth of Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck cv Valencia on detection of CLas in mature leaves, and 2) the impact of CLas inoculation frequency on progression of CLas titer in citrus leaves through the first year of infection. Temporal dynamics of CLas detection were associated with vegetative flush growth. Surprisingly, there was no difference in CLas titer detected between plants exposed to infected vectors for a one-time 7 d inoculation access period, as compared with plants exposed to continuously breeding CLas-infected insects over the course of an entire year of plant infection. Our results suggest that the CLas bacterium is transported through phloem during annual movement of carbon compounds needed for vegetative plant growth, including transportation from roots to mature leaves. These results highlight the importance of vegetative growth on temporal dynamics of CLas in citrus, and suggest a critical role of the sink-source interaction on presence/absence of CLas in leaves.
Publication date