Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) serve as crucial regulators in plant response to various diseases, while none have been systematically identified and characterized in response to citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacteria. Here, we comprehensively investigated the transcriptional and regulatory dynamics of the lncRNAs in response to CLas. Samples were collected from leaf midribs of CLas- and mock-inoculated HLB-tolerant rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri) and HLB-sensitive sweet orange (C. sinensis) at week 0, 7, 17, and 34 following inoculation using CLas+ budwood of three biological replicates in the greenhouse. A total of 8,742 lncRNAs, including 2,529 novel lncRNAs, were identified from RNA-seq data with rRNA-removed from strand-specific libraries. Genomic variation analyses of conserved lncRNAs from 38 citrus accessions showed that 26 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly correlated with HLB. In addition, lncRNA-mRNA weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) showed a significant module correlated with CLas-inoculation in rough lemon. Notably, the most significant LNC_28805 and multiple co-expressed genes related to plant defense in the module were targeted by miRNA5021, suggesting that LNC28805 might compete with endogenous miR5021 to maintain the homeostasis of immune gene expression levels. Candidate WRKY33 and SYP121 genes targeted by miRNA5021 were identified as two key hub genes interacting with bacteria pathogen response genes based on the prediction of protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. These two genes were also found within HLB-associated QTL in linkage group 6. Overall, our findings provide a reference for a better understanding of the role of lncRNAs involved in citrus HLB regulation.
IntroductionHuanglonbing (HLB) is the most serious disease of citrus in the world, associated with three non-cultivable phloem-restricted bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), Ca L. africanus (CLaf) and Ca L. americanus (CLam). CLas is transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri, and has spread to several countries. The African psyllid Trioza erytreae, the vector of CLaf occurs in Africa and neighbouring islands. Only two major citrus-growing regions - Australia/New Zealand and the Mediterranean Basin - are still HLB-free in the world. However, T. erytreae has recently been introduced into continental Europe (Portugal and Spain) and has become a potential threat to citrus production. The transmission of CLas by T. erytreae had been postulated but never tested. To evaluate the risk of T. erytreae transmitting CLas, comparative transmissions of CLas by T. erytreae and D. citri were assessed.MethodsTransmission tests were performed on excised leaves and seedlings of Citrus volkameriana with different inoculation access periods (in series) for both insect species. Quantifications of bacterial titers were made in excised leaves, seedlings three and six months after inoculation and on individual insects.ResultsOur results showed that T. erytreae was able to efficiently acquire CLas. Furthermore, T. erytreae carried significantly higher bacterial titers than D. citri, and was able to efficiently transmit the bacteria to seedlings at a similar rate that D. citri highlighting the high risk of spread of the most aggressive variant of HLB (CLas) by T. erytreae in Europe.DiscussionThus, extreme precautions to prevent any entry of CLas into Europe should be adopted.
BackgroundHuanglongbing (HLB, yellow shoot disease) is a highly destructive citrus disease associated with a nonculturable bacterium, “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas), which is transmitted by Asian citrus psyllid (ACP, Diaphorina citri). In Mexico, HLB was first reported in Tizimin, Yucatán, in 2009 and is now endemic in 351 municipalities of 25 states. Understanding the population diversity of CLas is critical for HLB management. Current CLas diversity research is exclusively based on analysis of the bacterial genome, which composed two regions, chromosome (&gt; 1,000 genes) and prophage (about 40 genes).Methods and resultsIn this study, 40 CLas-infected ACP samples from 20 states in Mexico were collected. CLas was detected and confirmed by PCR assays. A prophage gene(terL)-based typing system (TTS) divided the Mexican CLas strains into two groups: Term-G including four strains from Yucatán and Chiapas, as well as strain psy62 from Florida, USA, and Term-A included all other 36 Mexican strains, as well as strain AHCA1 from California, USA. CLas diversity was further evaluated to include all chromosomal and prophage genes assisted by using machine learning (ML) tools to resolve multidimensional data handling issues. A Term-G strain (YTMX) and a Term-A strain (BCSMX) were sequenced and analyzed. The two Mexican genome sequences along with the CLas genome sequences available in GenBank were studied. An unsupervised ML was implemented through principal component analysis (PCA) on average nucleotide identities (ANIs) of CLas whole genome sequences; And a supervised ML was implemented through sparse partial least squares discriminant analysis (sPLS-DA) on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of coding genes of CLas guided by the TTS. Two CLas Geno-groups, Geno-group 1 that extended Term-A and Geno-group 2 that extended Term-G, were established.ConclusionsThis study concluded that: 1) there were at least two different introductions of CLas into Mexico; 2) CLas strains between Mexico and USA are closely related; and 3) The two Geno-groups provide the basis for future CLas subspecies research.
In China, citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is caused by the Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacterium, which is carried by the Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. It was hypothesized that the epidemic of the HLB may related with the rate of bacterium presence in the insect vector and bacterium content in plant tissues, as well as the phyllosphere microbe communities changes. This study systematically analyzed the presence or absence of Ca. L. asiaticus in citrus tree leaves and in the insect vector D. citri over a 6-year period using real-time PCR. In addition, changes in the number of bacteria carried by D. citri over 12 months were quantified, as well as the relationship between the proportion of D. citri carrying Ca. L. asiaticus and the proportion of plants infected with Ca. L. asiaticus were analyzed. Results showed that the proportion of D. citri carrying bacteria was stable and relatively low from January to September. The bacteria in citrus leaves relatively low in spring and summer, then peaked in December. The proportion of D. citri carrying bacteria gradually declined from 2014 to 2019. The proportion of D. citri carrying Ca. L. asiaticus showed a significant positive correlation with the proportion of diseased citrus. The phyllosphere bacterial and fungal communities on the healthy citrus leaf were significantly different with the disease leaf in April and December. Pathogenic invasions change the citrus phyllosphere microbial community structure. It could be summarized that citrus Huanglongbing correlated with incidence of Diaphorina citri carrying Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and citrus phyllosphere microbiome.
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), known as the most economically devastating disease in citrus industry, is mainly caused by phloem-restricted Gram-negative bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas). To date, CLas is still unculturable in vitro, which has been dramatically delaying the research on its pathogenesis, and only few Sec-dependent effectors (SDEs) have been identified to elucidate the pathogenesis of CLas. Here, we confirmed that a CLas-secreted Sec-dependent polypeptide, namely SECP8 (CLIBASIA_05330), localized in nucleus, cytoplasm and cytoplasmic membrane, and showed remarkably higher transcript abundance in citrus than in psyllids. Potato virus X (PVX)-mediated transient expression assays indicated that mSECP8 (the mature form of SECP8) suppressed pro-apoptotic mouse protein BAX and Phytophthora infestans elicitin INF1-triggered hypersensitive response (HR) associated phenotypes, including cell death, H2O2 accumulation and callose deposition. Intriguingly, mSECP8 also inhibited SDE1 (CLIBASIA_05315)-induced water-soaked and dwarfing symptoms in Nicotiana benthamiana. In addition, mSECP8 can promote the susceptibility of transgenic Wanjincheng orange (Citrus sinensis) to CLas invasion and further HLB symptom development, and it contributes to the proliferation of Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc). Moreover, the expression of ten immunity-related genes were significantly down-regulated in mSECP8 transgenic citrus than those in wide-type (WT) plants. Overall, we propose that mSECP8 may serve as a novel broad-spectrum suppressor of plant immunity, and provide the first evidence counteractive effect among CLas effectors. This study will enrich and provide new evidences for elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms of CLas in citrus host.
Huanglongbing (HLB), the most destructive citrus disease, is associated with unculturable, phloem-limited Candidatus Liberibacter species, mainly Ca. L. asiaticus (Las). Las is transmitted naturally by the insect Diaphorina citri. In a previous study, we determined that the Oceanian citrus relatives Eremocitrus glauca, Microcitrus warburgiana, Microcitrus papuana, and Microcitrus australis and three hybrids among them and Citrus were full-resistant to Las. After 2 years of evaluations, leaves of those seven genotypes remained Las-free even with their susceptible rootstock being infected. However, Las was detected in their stem bark above the scion-rootstock graft union. Aiming to gain an understanding of the full-resistance phenotype, new experiments were carried out with the challenge-inoculated Oceanian citrus genotypes through which we evaluated: (1) Las acquisition by D. citri fed onto them; (2) Las infection in sweet orange plants grafted with bark or budwood from them; (3) Las infection in sweet orange plants top-grafted onto them; (4) Las infection in new shoots from rooted plants of them; and (5) Las infection in new shoots of them after drastic back-pruning. Overall, results showed that insects that fed on plants from the Oceanian citrus genotypes, their canopies, new flushes, and leaves from rooted cuttings evaluated remained quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-negative. Moreover, their budwood pieces were unable to infect sweet orange through grafting. Furthermore, sweet orange control leaves resulted infected when insects fed onto them and graft-receptor susceptible plants. Genomic and morphological analysis of the Oceanian genotypes corroborated that E. glauca and M. warburgiana are pure species while our M. australis accession is an M. australis × M. inodora hybrid and M. papuana is probably a M. papuana × M. warburgiana hybrid. E. glauca × C. sinensis hybrid was found coming from a cross between E. glauca and mandarin or tangor. Eremocitrus × Microcitrus hybrid is a complex admixture of M. australasica, M. australis, and E. glauca while the last hybrid is an M. australasica × M. australis admixture. Confirmation of consistent full resistance in these genotypes with proper validation of their genomic parentages is essential to map properly genomic regions for breeding programs aimed to generate new Citrus-like cultivars yielding immunity to HLB.
As the causal agent of the grapevine yellows disease Bois noir, ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' has a major economic impact on grapevines. To improve the control of Bois noir, it is critical to understand the very complex epidemiological cycles that involve the multiple “Ca. P. solani” host plants and insect vectors, of which Hyalesthes obsoletus is the most important. In the present study, multiple genotyping of the tuf, secY, stamp, and vmp1 genes was performed. This involved archived grapevine samples that were collected during an official survey of grapevine yellows throughout the wine-growing regions of Slovenia (from 2003 to 2016), plus samples from Austrian grapevines, stinging nettle, field bindweed, and insect samples (collected from 2012 to 2019). The data show that the tuf-b2 type of the tuf gene has been present in eastern Slovenia since at least 2003. The hypotheses that the occurrence of the haplotypes varies due to the geographical position of Slovenia on the Italian–Slovenian Karst divide and that the haplotypes are similar between Slovenian and Austrian Styria were confirmed. The data also show haplotype changes for host plants and H. obsoletus associated with ‘Ca. P. solani,' which might be linked to new epidemiological cycles of this phytoplasma that involve not just new plant sources and new insect vectors, but also climate and land-use changes.
Huanglongbing (HLB) has turned into a devastating botanical pandemic of citrus crops, caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). However, until now the disease has remained incurable with very limited control strategies available. Restoration of the affected microbiomes in the diseased host through the introduction of an indigenous endophyte Bacillus subtilis L1-21 isolated from healthy citrus may provide an innovative approach for disease management. A novel half-leaf method was developed in vitro to test the efficacy of the endophyte L1-21 against CLas. Application of B. subtilis L1-21 at 104 colony forming unit (cfu ml−1) resulted in a 1,000-fold reduction in the CLas copies per gram of leaf midrib (107 to 104) in 4 days. In HLB-affected citrus orchards over a period of 2 years, the CLas incidence was reduced to &lt; 3%, and CLas copies declined from 109 to 104 g−1 of diseased leaf midribs in the endophyte L1-21 treated trees. Reduction in disease incidence may corroborate a direct or an indirect biocontrol effect of the endophytes as red fluorescent protein-labeled B. subtilis L1-21 colonized and shared niche (phloem) with CLas. This is the first large-scale study for establishing a sustainable HLB control strategy through citrus endophytic microbiome restructuring using an indigenous endophyte.
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) is the causative agent of Huanglongbing (HLB), which has caused great economic losses to the citrus industry. The molecular mechanism of the host response to CLas in wild citrus germplasm has been reported less. Eighteen weeks after inoculation via grafting, all the CLas-inoculated Chongyi wild mandarin (Citrus reticulata) were positive and showed severe anatomical aberrations, suggesting its susceptibility to HLB. Transcriptomics and metabolomics analyses of leaves, barks, and roots from mock-inoculated (control) and CLas-inoculated seedlings were performed. Comparative transcriptomics identified 3,628, 3,770, and 1,716 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between CLas-infected and healthy tissues in the leaves, barks, and roots, respectively. The CLas-infected tissues had higher transcripts per kilobase per million values and more genes that reached their maximal expression, suggesting that HLB might cause an overall increase in transcript accumulation. However, HLB-triggered transcriptional alteration showed tissue specificity. In the CLas-infected leaves, many DEGs encoding immune receptors were downregulated. In the CLas-infected barks, nearly all the DEGs involved in signaling and plant-pathogen interaction were upregulated. In the CLas-infected roots, DEGs encoding enzymes or transporters involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism were downregulated. Metabolomics identified 71, 62, and 50 differentially accumulated metabolites (DAMs) in the CLas-infected leaves, barks and roots, respectively. By associating DEGs with DAMs, nitrogen metabolism was the only pathway shared by the three infected tissues and was depressed in the CLas-infected roots. In addition, 26 genes were determined as putative markers of CLas infection, and a hypothesized model for the HLB susceptibility mechanism in Chongyi was proposed. Our study may shed light on investigating the molecular mechanism of the host response to CLas infection in wild citrus germplasm.