General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Publications (52)

A synthetic ‘essentialome’ for axenic culturing of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’

Citation
Cai et al. (2022). BMC Research Notes 15 (1)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus Liberibacter
Subjects
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Medicine
Abstract
Abstract Objective ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is associated with the devastating citrus ‘greening’ disease. All attempts to achieve axenic growth and complete Koch’s postulates with CLas have failed to date, at best yielding complex cocultures with very low CLas titers detectable only by PCR. Reductive genome evolution has rendered all pathogenic ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ spp. deficient in multiple key biosynthetic, metabolic and structural pathways that are highly unlikely to be rescued in vitro by media supplementation alone. By contrast, Liberibacter crescens (Lcr) is axenically cultured and its genome is both syntenic and highly similar to CLas. Our objective is to achieve replicative axenic growth of CLas via addition of missing culturability-related Lcr genes. Results Bioinformatic analyses identified 405 unique ORFs in Lcr but missing (or truncated) in all 24 sequenced CLas strains. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed and extended published EZ-Tn5 mutagenesis data, allowing elimination of 310 of these 405 genes as nonessential, leaving 95 experimentally validated Lcr genes as essential for CLas growth in axenic culture. Experimental conditions for conjugation of large GFP-expressing plasmids from Escherichia coli to Lcr were successfully established for the first time, providing a practical method for transfer of large groups of ‘essential’ Lcr genes to CLas.

Recovery of Lutacidiplasmatales archaeal order genomes suggests convergent evolution in Thermoplasmatota

Citation
Sheridan et al. (2022). Nature Communications 13 (1)
Names
“Lutacidiplasmataceae” “Lutacidiplasma” “Lutacidiplasma silvani” “Lutacidiplasmatales”
Subjects
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Chemistry General Physics and Astronomy Multidisciplinary
Abstract
AbstractThe Terrestrial Miscellaneous Euryarchaeota Group has been identified in various environments, and the single genome investigated thus far suggests that these archaea are anaerobic sulfite reducers. We assemble 35 new genomes from this group that, based on genome analysis, appear to possess aerobic and facultative anaerobic lifestyles and may oxidise rather than reduce sulfite. We propose naming this order (representing 16 genera) “Lutacidiplasmatales” due to their occurrence in various acidic environments and placement within the phylum Thermoplasmatota. Phylum-level analysis reveals that Thermoplasmatota evolution had been punctuated by several periods of high levels of novel gene family acquisition. Several essential metabolisms, such as aerobic respiration and acid tolerance, were likely acquired independently by divergent lineages through convergent evolution rather than inherited from a common ancestor. Ultimately, this study describes the terrestrially prevalent Lutacidiciplasmatales and highlights convergent evolution as an important driving force in the evolution of archaeal lineages.

An essential role for tungsten in the ecology and evolution of a previously uncultivated lineage of anaerobic, thermophilic Archaea

Citation
Buessecker et al. (2022). Nature Communications 13 (1)
Names
Wolframiiraptor allenii Wolframiiraptor sinensis Terraquivivens tikiterensis Ts Terraquivivens Geocrenenecus Benthortus Terraquivivens yellowstonensis Terraquivivens tengchongensis Terraquivivens ruidianensis Geocrenenecus huangii Geocrenenecus arthurdayi Geocrenenecus dongiae Ts Benthortus lauensis Ts Wolframiiraptoraceae Wolframiiraptor Wolframiiraptor gerlachensis Ts
Subjects
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Chemistry General Physics and Astronomy Multidisciplinary
Abstract
AbstractTrace metals have been an important ingredient for life throughout Earth’s history. Here, we describe the genome-guided cultivation of a member of the elusive archaeal lineage Caldarchaeales (syn. Aigarchaeota), Wolframiiraptor gerlachensis, and its growth dependence on tungsten. A metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) of W. gerlachensis encodes putative tungsten membrane transport systems, as well as pathways for anaerobic oxidation of sugars probably mediated by tungsten-dependent ferredoxin oxidoreductases that are expressed during growth. Catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in-situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) show that W. gerlachensis preferentially assimilates xylose. Phylogenetic analyses of 78 high-quality Wolframiiraptoraceae MAGs from terrestrial and marine hydrothermal systems suggest that tungsten-associated enzymes were present in the last common ancestor of extant Wolframiiraptoraceae. Our observations imply a crucial role for tungsten-dependent metabolism in the origin and evolution of this lineage, and hint at a relic metabolic dependence on this trace metal in early anaerobic thermophiles.

Genomic diversity across the Rickettsia and ‘Candidatus Megaira’ genera and proposal of genus status for the Torix group

Citation
Davison et al. (2022). Nature Communications 13 (1)
Names
Ca. Tisiphia Ca. Megaira
Subjects
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Chemistry General Physics and Astronomy
Abstract
AbstractMembers of the bacterial genus Rickettsia were originally identified as causative agents of vector-borne diseases in mammals. However, many Rickettsia species are arthropod symbionts and close relatives of ‘Candidatus Megaira’, which are symbiotic associates of microeukaryotes. Here, we clarify the evolutionary relationships between these organisms by assembling 26 genomes of Rickettsia species from understudied groups, including the Torix group, and two genomes of ‘Ca. Megaira’ from various insects and microeukaryotes. Our analyses of the new genomes, in comparison with previously described ones, indicate that the accessory genome diversity and broad host range of Torix Rickettsia are comparable to those of all other Rickettsia combined. Therefore, the Torix clade may play unrecognized roles in invertebrate biology and physiology. We argue this clade should be given its own genus status, for which we propose the name ‘Candidatus Tisiphia’.

Molecular Identification and Characterization of Two Groups of Phytoplasma and Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus in Single or Mixed Infection of Citrus maxima on Hainan Island of China

Citation
Yu et al. (2022). Biology 11 (6)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus Liberibacter
Subjects
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Immunology and Microbiology
Abstract
The pathogens associated with citrus Huanglongbing symptoms, including yellowing and mottled leaves in Citrus maxima, an important economic crop on Hainan Island of China, were identified and characterized. In the study, detection, genetic variation and phylogenetic relationship analysis of the pathogens were performed based on 16S rRNA and β-operon gene fragments specific to phytoplasma and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The results indicated that the pathogens—such as phytoplasma strains of CmPII-hn belonging to the 16SrII-V subgroup and CmPXXXII-hn belonging to the 16SrXXXII-D subgroup, as well as Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus strains CmLas-hn—were identified in the diseased plant samples, with numbers of 12, 2 and 6 out of 54, respectively. Among them, mixed infection with the 16SrII-V subgroup phytoplasma and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus was found in the study, accounting for 7.4% (four samples). The phytoplasma strains of CmPII-hn—Tephrosia purpurea witches’ broom, Melochia corchorifolia witches’ broom and Emilia sonchifolia witches’ broom—were clustered into one clade belonging to the 16SrII-V subgroup, with a 99% bootstrap value. The phytoplasma strains of CmPXXXII-hn and Trema tomentosa witches’ broom belonging to 16SrXXXII-D, and the other 16SrXXXII subgroup strains were clustered into one clade belonging to the 16SrXXXII group with a 99% bootstrap value. There were 16 variable loci in the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the tested 16SrXXXII group phytoplasma strains, of which two bases had an insertion/deletion. The strains of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, identified in the study and the strains that had been deposited in GenBank, were in one independent cluster with a 99% bootstrap value. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing that Citrus maxima can be infected by 16SrII-V and16SrXXXII-D subgroup phytoplasmas in China. Moreover, this is also the first report in which the plants are co-infected by 16SrII-V subgroup phytoplasmas and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. More comprehensive and detailed identification and characterization of the pathogens associated with the diseased symptoms in Citrus maxima on the island in China would be beneficial for epidemic monitoring and for the effective prevention and control of related plant diseases.

Multilocus Genotyping of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma Solani’ Associated with Grapevine Bois Noir in Iran

Citation
Jamshidi et al. (2022). Biology 11 (6)
Names
Ca. Phytoplasma solani Ca. Phytoplasma
Subjects
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Immunology and Microbiology
Abstract
Grapevine Bois noir (BN) is associated with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’. It has been recorded in vineyards throughout Europe as well as in different countries in Asia, where it now constitutes a threat to Iranian viticulture. BN is strictly dependent on ‘Ca. P. solani’ strains, wild host plants, and insect vectors. The molecular typing of ‘Ca. P. solani’, based on the nonribosomal gene tuf and the two hypervariable markers vmp1 and stamp, is valuable for the reconstruction and clarification of the pathways of BN spread. In this study, an RFLP analysis was performed on the vmp1 gene, and a single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis confirmed new vmp types in ‘Ca. P. solani’. A stamp gene phylogenetic analysis allowed us to distinguish between the new genotype infections in the grapevines and the ‘weeds’ Convolvulus arvensis and Erigeron bonariensis in Iranian vineyards, highlighting the close genetic relatedness of the strains of ‘Ca. P. solani’ found in Iran and Azerbaijan. The most common genotype in the grapevines was tuf b/V24/stamp III, which was associated with C. arvensis. This information contributes toward the identification of further routes of introduction of ‘Ca. P. solani’ in Iran to sustain the control measures for the management of BN.

Steam Explosion (STEX) of Citrus × Poncirus Hybrids with Exceptional Tolerance to Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus (CLas) as Useful Sources of Volatiles and Other Commercial Products

Citation
Dorado et al. (2021). Biology 10 (12)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus Liberibacter
Subjects
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Immunology and Microbiology
Abstract
Florida citrus production has declined 75% due to Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease caused by the pathogenic bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). Methods to combat CLas are costly and only partially effective. The cross-compatible species Poncirus trifoliata and some of its hybrids are known to be highly tolerant to CLas, and thus can potentially serve as an alternative feedstock for many citrus products. To further investigate the commercial potential of citrus hybrids, three citrus hybrids, US-802, US-897, and US-942, were studied for their potential as feedstocks for citrus co-products using steam explosion (STEX) followed by water extraction. Up to 93% of sugars were recovered. US-897 and US-942 have similar volatile profiles to that of the commercial citrus fruit types and as much as 85% of these volatiles could be recovered. Approximately 80% of the pectic hydrocolloids present in all three hybrids could be obtained in water washes of STEX material. Of the phenolics identified, the flavanone glycosides, i.e., naringin, neohesperidin, and poncirin were the most abundant quantitatively in these hybrids. The ability to extract a large percentage of these compounds, along with their inherent values, make US-802, US-897, and US-942 potentially viable feedstock sources for citrus co-products in the current HLB-blighted environment.

Discovery of Novel GMPS Inhibitors of Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus by Structure Based Design and Enzyme Kinetic

Citation
Nan et al. (2021). Biology 10 (7)
Names
Liberibacter
Subjects
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Immunology and Microbiology
Abstract
Citrus production is facing an unprecedented problem because of huanglongbing (HLB) disease. Presently, no effective HLB-easing method is available when citrus becomes infected. Guanosine 5′-monophosphate synthetase (GMPS) is a key protein in the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides. GMPS is used as an attractive target for developing agents that are effective against the patogen infection. In this research, homology modeling, structure-based virtual screening, and molecular docking were used to discover the new inhibitors against CLas GMPS. Enzyme assay showed that folic acid and AZD1152 showed high inhibition at micromole concentrations, with AZD1152 being the most potent molecule. The inhibition constant (Ki) value of folic acid and AZD1152 was 51.98 µM and 4.05 µM, respectively. These results suggested that folic acid and AZD1152 could be considered as promising candidates for the development of CLas agents.

A new method for early detection of latent infection by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ in citrus trees

Citation
Fujiwara et al. (2021). F1000Research 10
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Subjects
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Immunology and Microbiology General Medicine General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
Abstract
Background: ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is a major causal agent of citrus greening disease. The disease primarily involves an asymptomatic, often latent infection of CLas. However, there is no effective technique to distinguish latent-infected trees from healthy ones. This study describes the development of a new detection method for latent CLas infection using cuttings. Methods: Root tissues regenerated from cuttings using symptomatic and asymptomatic citrus trees were prepared for real-time a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which was used to investigate latent CLas. When some of the regenerated roots were negative for CLas in the first real-time PCR assay, a subsequent cultivation in soils was performed using the CLas-negative cuttings. CLas development during cultivation was evaluated by a second real-time PCR assay using soil-grown roots from seedlings. Results: Previously, CLas had not been detected from leaves of the latent-infected trees in our greenhouse by real-time PCR. In this study, however, CLas was detected at a moderate frequency from the root tissues of cuttings derived from the latent-infected trees, by the same PCR test. For cuttings with regenerated roots that tested negative for CLas by real-time PCR, CLas was frequently detected from roots grown in nursery soil with autoclaving, after cultivation for a month or more. Conclusions: Latent infection with CLas was detectable by real-time PCR using root tissues regenerated by cuttings and roots grown in nursery soil with autoclaving. These results suggest that the new method of investigation would provide great opportunities for early detection of CLas in asymptomatic citrus trees from field surveys, and would accelerate the eradication practice of citrus greening.

Multiplex detection of “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” and Spiroplasma citri by qPCR and droplet digital PCR

Citation
Maheshwari et al. (2021). PLOS ONE 16 (3)
Names
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Subjects
General Agricultural and Biological Sciences General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology General Medicine Multidisciplinary
Abstract
“Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas) and Spiroplasma citri are phloem-limited bacteria that infect citrus and are transmitted by insect vectors. S. citri causes citrus stubborn disease (CSD) and is vectored by the beet leafhopper in California. CLas is associated with the devastating citrus disease, Huanglongbing (HLB), and is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. CLas is a regulatory pathogen spreading in citrus on residential properties in southern California and is an imminent threat to spread to commercial citrus plantings. CSD is endemic in California and has symptoms in citrus that can be easily confused with HLB. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a multiplex qPCR and duplex droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assay for simultaneous detection of CLas and S. citri to be used where both pathogens can co-exist. The multiplex qPCR assay was designed to detect multicopy genes of CLas—RNR (5 copies) and S. citri–SPV1 ORF1 (13 copies), respectively, and citrus cytochrome oxidase (COX) as internal positive control. Absolute quantitation of these pathogens was achieved by duplex ddPCR as a supplement for marginal qPCR results. Duplex ddPCR allowed higher sensitivity than qPCR for detection of CLas and S. citri. ddPCR showed higher tolerance to inhibitors and yielded highly reproducible results. The multiplex qPCR assay has the benefit of testing both pathogens at reduced cost and can serve to augment the official regulatory protocol for CLas detection in California. Moreover, the ddPCR provided unambiguous absolute detection of CLas and S. citri at very low concentrations without any standards for pathogen titer.