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.
Diaphorina citri is the hemipteran pest and vector of a devastating bacterial pathogen of citrus worldwide. In addition to the two core bacterial endosymbionts of D. citri, Candidatus Carsonella ruddii and Candidatus Profftella armatura, the genome of a novel endosymbiont and as of yet undescribed microbe was discovered in a Hawaiian D. citri population through deep sequencing of multiple D. citri populations. Found to be closely related to the genus
in the family
by 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, it forms a sister clade along with other insect-associated 16S rRNA gene sequences from uncultured bacterium found associated with Aedes koreicus and Sogatella furcifera. Multilocus sequence analysis confirmed the phylogenetic placement sister to the
clade. Despite the culturable
clade being the closest phylogenetic neighbour, attempts to culture this newly identified bacterial endosymbiont were unsuccessful. On the basis of these distinct genetic differences, the novel endosymbiont is proposed to be classified into a candidate genus and species ‘Candidatus Kirkpatrickella diaphorinae’. The full genome was deposited in GenBank (accession number CP107052; prokaryotic 16S rRNA OP600170).
Huanglongbing (HLB; also known as citrus greening) is the most destructive bacterial disease of citrus worldwide with no known sustainable cure yet. Herein, we used non-targeted metabolomics and transcriptomics to prove that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) accumulation might influence the homeostasis of several metabolic pathways, as well as antioxidant defense machinery, and their metabolism-related genes. Overall, 41 metabolites were detected in ‘Valencia’ sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) leaf extract including 19 proteinogenic amino acids (PAA), 10 organic acids, 5 fatty acids, and 9 other amines (four phenolic amines and three non-PAA). Exogenous GABA application increased most PAA in healthy (except L-threonine, L-glutamine, L-glutamic acid, and L-methionine) and ‘Candidatus L. asiaticus’-infected citrus plants (with no exception). Moreover, GABA accumulation significantly induced L-tryptophan, L-phenylalanine, and α-linolenic acid, the main precursors of auxins, salicylic acid (SA), and jasmonic acid (JA), respectively. Furthermore, GABA supplementation upregulated most, if not all, of amino acids, phenolic amines, phytohormone metabolism-related, and GABA shunt-associated genes in both healthy and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected leaves. Moreover, although ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ induced the accumulation of H2O2 and O2•− and generated strong oxidative stress in infected leaves, GABA possibly stimulates the activation of a multilayered antioxidative system to neutralize the deleterious effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and maintain redox status within infected leaves. This complex system comprises two major components: (i) the enzymatic antioxidant defense machinery (six POXs, four SODs, and CAT) that serves as the front line in antioxidant defenses, and (ii) the non-enzymatic antioxidant defense machinery (phenolic acids and phenolic amines) that works as a second defense line against ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-induced ROS in citrus infected leaves. Collectively, our findings suggest that GABA might be a promising alternative eco-friendly strategy that helps citrus trees battle HLB particularly, and other diseases in general.
The devastating citrus disease, Huanglongbing (HLB), is associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter sp.’ and transmitted by citrus psyllids. Unfortunately, HLB has no known sustainable cure yet. Herein, we proposed γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as a potential eco-friendly therapeutic solution to HLB. Herein, we used GC/MS-based targeted metabolomics combined with gene expression to investigate the role of GABA in citrus response against HLB and to better understand its relationship(s) with different phytohormones. GABA supplementation via root drench boosts the accumulation of endogenous GABA in the leaves of both healthy and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected trees. GABA accumulation benefits the activation of a multi-layered defensive system via modulating the phytohormone levels and regulating the expression of their biosynthesis genes and some pathogenesis-related proteins (PRs) in both healthy and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected plants. Moreover, our findings showed that GABA application stimulates auxin biosynthesis in ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected plants via the activation of the indole-3-pyruvate (I3PA) pathway, not via the tryptamine (TAM)-dependent pathway, to enhance the growth of HLB-affected trees. Likewise, GABA accumulation was associated with the upregulation of SA biosynthesis genes, particularly the PAL-dependent route, resulting in higher SA levels that activated CsPR1, CsPR2, CsPR5, and CsWRKY70, which are prominent to activation of the SA-mediated pathway. Additionally, higher GABA levels were correlated with an enhanced JA profile and linked with both CsPR3 and CsPR4, which activates the JA-mediated pathway. Collectively, our findings suggest that exogenous GABA application might be a promising alternative and eco-friendly strategy that helps citrus trees battle HLB.
The anaerobic oxidation of fatty acids and alcohols occurs near the thermodynamic limit of life. This process is driven by syntrophic bacteria that oxidize fatty acids and/or alcohols, their syntrophic partners that consume the products of this oxidation, and the pathways for interspecies electron exchange via these products or direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET). Due to the interdependence of syntrophic microorganisms on each other’s metabolic activity, their isolation in pure cultures is almost impossible. Thus, little is known about their physiology, and the only available way to fill in the knowledge gap on these organisms is genomic and metabolic analysis of syntrophic cultures. Here we report the results of genome sequencing and analysis of an obligately syntrophic alkaliphilic bacterium ‘Candidatus Contubernalis alkaliaceticus’. The genomic data suggest that acetate oxidation is carried out by the Wood–Ljungdahl pathway, while a bimodular respiratory system involving an Rnf complex and a Na+-dependent ATP synthase is used for energy conservation. The predicted genomic ability of ‘Ca. C. alkaliaceticus’ to outperform interspecies electron transfer both indirectly, via H2 or formate, and directly, via pili-like appendages of its syntrophic partner or conductive mineral particles, was experimentally demonstrated. This is the first indication of DIET in the class Dethiobacteria.
AbstractPlant pathogens can alter the behavior of their insect vectors as well as their survival and reproduction. The African psyllid, Trioza erytreae, is one of the vectors of Huanglongbing, a citrus disease caused mainly by “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (CLas). The purpose of this study was to characterize the effects of CLas on the psyllid, T. erytreae using Citrus volkamerina plants as the study system. The study focused more specifically on the CLas effects prior to and after its acquisition by the psyllid T. erytreae. Our results did not support the hypothesis that CLas effects psyllid probing behavior prior to acquisition; few differences were observed between uninfected T. erytrea feeding on CLas‐infected versus control plants. On the other hand, compared to psyllids that had completed their development on control plants, the ones that had completed their development on a CLas‐infected plant exhibited changes in their behavior (greater velocity), physiology (smaller mass) and biochemistry (lower water and lipid content). Altogether, our results confirm the existence of a marked postacquisition effect on the vector locomotor behavior and a minor preacquisition effect of CLas on the vector behavior, which can be partially explained by physiological and biochemical changes.
Early detection and prompt response are key factors in the eradication of ‘huanglongbing’ (HLB) in California. Currently, qPCR testing of leaf tissue guides the removal of infected trees. However, because of the uneven distribution of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) in an infected tree and asymptomatic infection, selecting the best leaves to sample, from a mature tree with more than 200,000 estimated leaves, is a major hurdle for timely detection. The goal of this study was to address this issue by testing alternative tissues that might improve the CLas detection rate. Using two years of field data, old and young leaves, peduncle bark of fruit, and feeder roots were evaluated for the presence of CLas. Quadrant-peduncle (Q-P) tissue sampling consistently resulted in better CLas detection than any other tissue type. Q-P samples had a 30% higher qPCR positivity rate than quadrant-leaf (Q-L) samples. No significant seasonal patterns were observed. Roots and single peduncles had similar detection rates; both were higher than single leaves or Q-L samples. If symptoms were used to guide sampling, 30% of infected trees would have been missed. Taken together, these results suggest that Q-P tissue sampling is the optimal choice for improved CLas detection under California growing conditions.
AbstractSymbiotic bacteria can alter host biology by providing protection from natural enemies, or alter reproduction or vectoral competence. Symbiont‐linked control of vector‐borne disease in Anopheles has been hampered by a lack of symbioses that can establish stable vertical transmission in the host. Previous screening found the symbiont ‘Candidatus Tisiphia’ in Anopheles plumbeus, an aggressive biter and potential secondary vector of malaria parasites and West Nile virus. We screened samples collected over 10‐years across Germany and used climate databases to assess environmental influence on incidence. We observed a 95% infection rate, and that the frequency of infection did not fluctuate with broad environmental factors. Maternal inheritance is indicated by presence in the ovaries through FISH microscopy. Finally, we assembled a high‐quality 1.6 Mbp draft genome of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ to explore its phylogeny and potential metabolic competence. The infection is closely related to strains found in Culicoides biting midges and shows similar patterns of metabolism, providing no evidence of the capacity to synthesize B‐vitamins. This infection offers avenues for onward research in anopheline mosquito symbioses. Additionally, it provides future opportunity to study the impact of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ on natural and transinfected hosts, especially in relation to reproductive fitness and vectorial competence and capacity.