The pathogenicity of intracellular plant pathogenic bacteria is associated with the action of pathogenicity factors/effectors, but their physiological roles for most phytoplasma species, including ‘Candidiatus Phytoplasma solani’ are unknown. Six putative pathogenicity factors/effectors from six different strains of ‘Ca. P. solani’ were selected by bioinformatic analysis. The way in which they manipulate the host cellular machinery was elucidated by analyzing Nicotiana benthamiana leaves after Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation with the pathogenicity factor/effector constructs using confocal microscopy, pull-down, and co-immunoprecipitation, and enzyme assays. Candidate pathogenicity factors/effectors were shown to modulate plant carbohydrate metabolism and the ascorbate–glutathione cycle and to induce autophagosomes. PoStoSP06, PoStoSP13, and PoStoSP28 were localized in the nucleus and cytosol. The most active effector in the processes studied was PoStoSP06. PoStoSP18 was associated with an increase in phosphoglucomutase activity, whereas PoStoSP28, previously annotated as an antigenic membrane protein StAMP, specifically interacted with phosphoglucomutase. PoStoSP04 induced only the ascorbate–glutathione cycle along with other pathogenicity factors/effectors. Candidate pathogenicity factors/effectors were involved in reprogramming host carbohydrate metabolism in favor of phytoplasma own growth and infection. They were specifically associated with three distinct metabolic pathways leading to fructose-6-phosphate as an input substrate for glycolysis. The possible significance of autophagosome induction by PoStoSP28 is discussed.
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) is the most destructive citrus disease worldwide, mainly caused by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas). It encodes a large number of Sec-dependent effectors that contribute to HLB progression. In this study, an elicitor triggering ROS burst and cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana, CLIBASIA_04425 (CLas4425), was identified. Of particular interest, its cell death-inducing activity is associated with its subcellular localization and the cytoplasmic receptor Botrytis-induced kinase 1 (BIK1). Compared with CLas infected psyllids, CLas4425 showed higher expression level in planta. The transient expression of CLas4425 in N. benthamiana and its overexpression in Citrus sinensis enhanced plant susceptibility to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 ΔhopQ1-1 and CLas, respectively. Furthermore, the salicylic acid (SA) level along with the expression of genes NPR1/EDS1/NDR1/PRs in SA signal transduction was repressed in CLas4425 transgenic citrus plants. Taken together, CLas4425 is a virulence factor that promotes CLas proliferation, likely by interfering with SA-mediated plant immunity. The results obtained facilitate our understanding of CLas pathogenesis.
Psyllid yellows, vein-greening (VG), and zebra chip (ZC) diseases, which are primarily transmitted by potato psyllid (PoP) carrying Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), have caused significant losses in solanaceous crop production worldwide. Pathogens interact with their vectors at the organic and cellular levels, while the potential changes that may occur at the biochemical level are less well reported. In this study, the impact of CLso on the metabolism of PoP and the identification of biomarkers from infected psyllids were examined. Using ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) analysis, metabolomic changes in CLso-infected psyllids were compared to uninfected ones. A total of 34 metabolites were identified as potential biomarkers of CLso infection, which were primarily related to amino acid, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. The significant increase in glycerophospholipids is thought to be associated with CLso evading the insect vector’s immune defense. Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MALDI-MSI) was used to map the spatial distribution of these biomarkers, revealing that 15-keto-Prostaglandin E2 and alpha-D-Glucose were highly expressed in the abdomen of uninfected psyllids but down-regulated in infected psyllids. It is speculated that this down-regulation may be due to CLso evading surveillance by immune suppression in the PoP midgut. Overall, valuable biochemical information was provided, a theoretical basis for a better understanding of psyllid-pathogen interactions was offered, and the findings may aid in breaking the transmission cycle of these diseases.
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas), is the most destructive disease threatening global citrus industry. Most commercial cultivars were susceptible to HLB, although some showed tolerant to HLB phenotypically. Identifying tolerant citrus genotypes and understanding the mechanism correlated with tolerance to HLB is essential for breeding citrus variety tolerance/resistance to HLB. In this study, the graft assay with CLas-infected bud were performed in four citrus genotypes, including Citrus reticulata Blanco, C. sinensis, C. limon, and C. maxima. HLB tolerance was observed in C. limon and C. maxima, while C. Blanco and C. sinensis were susceptible to HLB. The time-course transcriptomic analysis revealed a significant variation in differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to HLB between susceptible and tolerant cultivar group at early and late infection stage. Functional analysis of DEGs indicated that the activation of genes involved in SA-mediated defense response, PTI, cell wall associated immunity, endochitinase, phenylpropanoid and alpha-linolenic/linoleic lipid metabolism played an important in the tolerance of C. limon and C. maxima to HLB at early infection stage. In addition, the overactive plant defense combined with the stronger antibacterial activity (antibacterial secondary and lipid metabolism) and the suppression of pectinesterase were contributed to the long-term tolerance to HLB in C. limon and C. maxima at late infection stage. Particularly, the activation of ROS scavenging genes (catalases and ascorbate peroxidases) could help to reduce HLB symptoms in tolerant cultivars. In contrast, the overexpression of genes involved in oxidative burst and ethylene metabolism, as well as the late inducing of defense related genes could lead to the early HLB symptom development in susceptible cultivars at early infection stage. The weak defense response and antibacterial secondary metabolism, and the induce of pectinesterase were responsible for sensitivity to HLB in C. reticulata Blanco and C. sinensis at late infection stage. This study provided new insights into the tolerance/sensitivity mechanism against HLB and valuable guidance for breeding of HLB-tolerant/resistant cultivars.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating disease that affects all commercial citrus species worldwide. The disease is associated with bacteria of three species of the genus ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ transmitted by psyllid vectors. To date, HLB has no cure, so preventing its introduction into HLB-free areas is the best strategy to control its spread. For that, the use of accurate, sensitive, specific, and reliable detection methods is critical for good integrated management of this serious disease. This study presents a new real-time recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) protocol able to detect the three ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ species associated with HLB in both plant and insect samples, validated according to European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) guidelines and tested on 365 samples from nine different geographic origins. This new protocol does not require nucleic acid purification or specialized equipment, making it ideal to be used under field conditions. It is based on specific primers and probe targeting a region of fusA gene, which shows a specificity of 94%–100%, both in silico and in vitro, for the ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ species associated with HLB. The analytical sensitivity of the new protocol is excellent, with a reliable detection limit in the order of 101 copies per microliter in HLB-infected plant and insect material. The repeatability and reproducibility of the new methods showed consistent results. Diagnostic parameters of the new RPA protocol were calculated and compared with the gold standard technique, a quantitative real-time PCR, in both crude extracts of citrus plants and insect vectors. The agreement between the two techniques was almost perfect according to the estimated Cohen’s kappa index, with a diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of 83.89% and 100%, respectively, and a relative accuracy of 91.59%. Moreover, the results are obtained in less than 35 min. All these results indicate the potential of this new RPA protocol to be implemented as a reliable on-site detection kit for HLB due to its simplicity, speed, and portability.
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.