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.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) causes disease symptoms and economic losses in potato, tomato, and other solanaceous crops in North America. Lso is transmitted to plants by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, which occurs as distinct haplotypes named western, central, and northwestern that differ in the presence or absence of the bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia. Previous work showed that all three vector haplotypes can transmit Lso, but it was not clear whether acquisition and transmission rates of Lso were equal among the haplotypes. The goal of our study was to compare Lso infection rates among psyllids of the western, central, and northwestern haplotypes. Using data collected from several years of periodic testing of Lso infection of laboratory-reared potato psyllid colonies, we showed that psyllids of the western and central haplotypes are more likely to harbor Lso than are psyllids of the northwestern haplotype. We then used greenhouse assays to demonstrate that psyllids of the northwestern haplotype are less likely to acquire and transmit Lso than those of the western haplotype. Lso infection rates corresponded with Wolbachia infection among the three psyllid haplotypes. The Wolbachia-infected central and western haplotypes were more likely to harbor and transmit Lso than the Wolbachia-free northwestern haplotype. Results demonstrate that potato psyllids of the western and central haplotypes pose a greater risk for spread of Lso in crops and suggest a pattern between infection with Lso and Wolbachia in potato psyllid.
Stone fruits are a multibillion-dollar industry for the United States and Canada, one that has repeatedly suffered significant economic losses due to outbreaks of the X-disease phytoplasma (‘ Candidatus Phytoplasma pruni’) over the last century. Orchards and entire production areas have been abandoned, with corresponding losses to growers, fruit packers, and consumers. The most recent outbreak, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, resulted in an estimated $65 million (USD) loss in revenue between 2015 and 2020 and is only increasing in incidence. Already present across much of the continental United States and Canada, the phytoplasma has a broad host range beyond stone fruit and is transmitted by at least eight leafhopper species, therefore stone fruit production in every state is at significant risk. This recovery plan was produced as part of the National Plant Disease Recovery System and is intended to provide a review of pathogen biology, assess the status of critical recovery components, and identify disease management research, extension, and education needs.
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.