Alocasia macrorrhiza, which belongs to the Araceae family, is an important landscape plant in China, and has of significant medicinal uses. In 2022, A. macrorrhiza displaying abnormal symptoms were found in Qionghai, Hainan Island of China (110°23′3.06″，19°7′56.29″). The incidence of symptomatic plants was about 40% in the sampled areas. The abnormal symptoms included that the ovoid leaves color turned yellow from green gradually, with ovoid leaves chlorosis, mesophyll tissue yellowing, miniature leaves and systemic wilting. The diseased symptoms suspected to be associated with phytoplasma according to the protocols of phytoplasma identification. In order to identify the pathogen, eleven diseased samples and three asymptomatic samples were collected from an area of about 40 hectares. Total DNAs were extracted from 0.10 g fresh plant leaf tissues using a CTAB DNA extraction method. PCR amplifications were performed using primers R16mF2/R16mR1 and fTuf1/rTuf1 specific for the phytoplasma 16S rRNA and tuf genes. Target PCR amplicons were obtained from the DNA of 11 diseased samples, whereas not from the DNA of the asymptomatic samples. The PCR products were cloned and sequenced by Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (Guangzhou, China), and the obtained sequences were assembled, edited and analyzed using the EditSeq program and DNAMAN version 6.0. The phytoplasma 16S rRNA and tuf gene amplicons were 1336 and 930 bp in length, respectively. The sequences of all 16S rRNA and tuf amplicons in this study were identical. The sequencing data were deposited in GenBank with accession numbers OR466206 (16S rDNA) and OR513090 (tuf). According to the methods and protocols of phytoplasma identified and classification, the phytoplasma strain was described as Alocasia macrorrhiza yellows (AmY) phytoplasma, AmY-hn strain. BLAST search were conducted based on 16Sr RNA and tuf genes. The results showed that the AmY-hn had 100 % 16Sr RNA sequence identity (1336 bp out of 1336 bp) with that of 16SrI-B subgroup phytoplasmas like onion yellows phytoplasma (OY-M, AP006628). The AmY-hn had 100 % tuf sequence identity (930 bp out of 930 bp) with that of 16SrI-B subgroup phytoplasmas like OY-M. RFLP profiles obtained with iPhyClassifier demonstrated that AmY-hn strain was a member of the 16SrI-B subgroup with a similarity coefficient 1.00 to the reference phytoplasma strain (AP006628). Separated phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA and tuf genes obtained with MEGA 7.0 using the neighbor-joining (NJ) method with 1000 bootstrap value indicated that AmY-hn clustered into one clade with phytoplasma strains of OY-M and chinaberry witches’-broom (KP662119) with 100 % and 87 % bootstrap value respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report that a ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’-related strain belonging to 16SrI-B subgroup infects A. macrorrhiza in China. The 16SrI-B subgroup ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’-related strains can spread outwards through the plant A. macrorrhiza. Thus, the findings in the study will be beneficial to the detection of phytoplasmas which parasitic in this plant and the epidemic monitoring of the related diseases.
AbstractThe bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) causes citrus Huanglongbing disease. Our understanding of the pathogenicity and biology of this microorganism remains limited because CLas has not yet been cultivated in artificial media. Its genome is relatively small and encodes approximately 1136 proteins, of which 415 have unknown functions. Here, we use a high-throughput yeast-two-hybrid (Y2H) screen to identify interactions between CLas proteins, thus providing insights into their potential functions. We identify 4245 interactions between 542 proteins, after screening 916 bait and 936 prey proteins. The false positive rate of the Y2H assay is estimated to be 2.9%. Pull-down assays for nine protein-protein interactions (PPIs) likely involved in flagellar function support the robustness of the Y2H results. The average number of PPIs per node in the CLas interactome is 15.6, which is higher than the numbers previously reported for interactomes of free-living bacteria, suggesting that CLas genome reduction has been accompanied by increased protein multi-functionality. We propose potential functions for 171 uncharacterized proteins, based on the PPI results, guilt-by-association analyses, and comparison with data from other bacterial species. We identify 40 hub-node proteins, including quinone oxidoreductase and LysR, which are known to protect other bacteria against oxidative stress and might be important for CLas survival in the phloem. We expect our PPI database to facilitate research on CLas biology and pathogenicity mechanisms.
AbstractThe evolution of insect vector‐pathogen relationships has long been of interest in the field of molecular ecology. One system of special relevance, due to its economic impacts, is that between Diaphorina citri and ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas), the cause of the severe Asian form of huanglongbing. CLas‐positive D. citri are more fecund than their CLas‐negative counterparts, boosting opportunities for pathogens to acquire new vector hosts. The molecular mechanism behind this life‐history shift remains unclear. Here, we found that CLas promoted ovarian development and increased the expression of the vitellogenin receptor (DcVgR) in ovaries. DcVgR RNAi significantly decreased fecundity and CLas titer in ovaries, extended the preoviposition period, shortened the oviposition period and blocked ovarian development. Given their importance in gene regulation, we explored the role of miRNAs in shaping these phenotypes and their molecular triggers. Our results showed that one miRNA, miR‐275, suppressed DcVgR expression by binding to its 3' UTR. Overexpression of miR‐275 knocked down DcVgR expression and CLas titer in ovaries, causing reproductive defects that mimicked DcVgR knockdown phenotypes. We focused, further, on roles of the Juvenile Hormone (JH) pathway in shaping the observed fecundity phenotype, given its known impacts on ovarian development. After CLas infection, this pathway was upregulated, thereby increasing DcVgR expression. From these combined results, we conclude that CLas hijacks the JH signalling pathway and miR‐275, thereby targeting DcVgR to increase D. citri fecundity. These changes simultaneously increase CLas replication, suggesting a pathogen‐vector host mutualism, or a seemingly helpful, but cryptically costly life‐history manipulation.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating citrus disease caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). Since its initial outbreak in Guangdong Province, China, it has spread to 10 provinces and caused significant economic losses. Hence, assessing CLas genetic diversity and demographic history is crucial for HLB epidemic prevention and control. In this study, we collected 500 leaf samples of CLas-infected plants from 10 provinces. We performed multi-loci sequence analysis on four gene fragments (omp, DnaA, GroEL, and SDE1) to explore the genetic differentiation and diversity of CLas in China. Our results indicated low nucleotide diversity (0.00005 ± 0.00001) in CLas, with the absence of significant systematic geographic structure in its distribution. Molecular variance analysis revealed predominant (81.7%) genetic variations within the population, with a minor variation (18.3%) occurring between populations as well as Yunnan provinces. In the Fujian population, significant gene exchange occurred with the other nine populations. Significant negative values in Tajima’s D and Fu’s FS neutrality tests indicated historical population expansions. The nucleotide mismatch distribution curve exhibits a single peak pattern, further supporting the expansion events. Our findings hold potential for advancing epidemiological research and providing suggestions for effective strategies to mitigate the spread of CLas and control HLB.