Direct DNA sequencing of ‘<i>Candidatus</i> Liberibacter asiaticus’ from <i>Diaphorina citri</i>, the Asian citrus psyllid, and its implications for citrus greening disease management

Higgins et al. [posted content, 2022]
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
AbstractThe Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri is an invasive insect 1 and a vector of ’Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas), a bacterium whose growth in Citrus species results in citrus greening disease 2,3. Methods to enrich and sequence CLas from D. citri often rely on biased genome amplification 4 and nevertheless contain significant quantities of host DNA 5,6. To overcome these hurdles, we developed a simple pre-treatment DNase and filtration (hereafter PDF) protocol to directly sequence CLas and the complete, primarily uncultivable, microbiome from D. citri adults. The PDF protocol yielded CLas abundances upwards of 60% and enabled detection of 156 genetic variants in these strains compared to progenitor strains in Florida, which included prophage encoding regions with key functions in CLas pathogenesis, putative antibiotic resistance loci, and a single secreted effector. These variants suggest laboratory propagation of CLas may result in different phenotypic trajectories among laboratories, and may confound CLas physiology or therapeutic design and evaluation if these differences remain undocumented. Finally, we obtained genetic signatures affiliated with Citrus nuclear and organellar genomes, entomopathogenic fungal mitochondria, and commensal bacteria from laboratory-reared and field-collected D. citri adults. Hence, the PDF protocol can inform agricultural management strategies related to pathogen evolution 7, insect microbiome surveillance 8, antibiotic resistance screening 9, and gut content analysis 10.
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