Gene Expression Profile of Mexican Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) Trees in Response to Huanglongbing Disease caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus

Arce-Leal et al. (2020). Microorganisms 8 (4)
Names (1)
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Microbiology Microbiology (medical) Virology
Nowadays, Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, associated with Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), seriously affects citriculture worldwide, and no cure is currently available. Transcriptomic analysis of host–pathogen interaction is the first step to understand the molecular landscape of a disease. Previous works have reported the transcriptome profiling in response to HLB in different susceptible citrus species; however, similar studies in tolerant citrus species, including Mexican lime, are limited. In this work, we have obtained an RNA-seq-based differential expression profile of Mexican lime plants challenged against CLas infection, at both asymptomatic and symptomatic stages. Typical HLB-responsive differentially expressed genes (DEGs) are involved in photosynthesis, secondary metabolism, and phytohormone homeostasis. Enrichment of DEGs associated with biotic response showed that genes related to cell wall, secondary metabolism, transcription factors, signaling, and redox reactions could play a role in the tolerance of Mexican lime against CLas infection. Interestingly, despite some concordance observed between transcriptional responses of different tolerant citrus species, a subset of DEGs appeared to be species-specific. Our data highlights the importance of studying the host response during HLB disease using as model tolerant citrus species, in order to design new and opportune diagnostic and management methods.
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