AbstractCandidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) has been associated with Huanglongbing, a lethal vector-borne disease affecting citrus crops worldwide. While comparative genomics has provided preliminary insights into the metabolic capabilities of this uncultured microorganism, a comprehensive functional characterization is currently lacking. Here, we reconstructed and manually curated genome-scale metabolic models for the six CLas strains A4, FL17, gxpsy, Ishi-1, psy62, and YCPsy, in addition to a model of the closest related culturable microorganism, L. crescens BT-1. Predictions about nutrient requirements and changes in growth phenotypes of CLas were confirmed using in vitro hairy root-based assays, while the L. crescens BT-1 model was validated using cultivation assays. Host-dependent metabolic phenotypes were revealed using expression data obtained from CLas-infected citrus trees and from the CLas-harboring psyllid Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. These results identified conserved and unique metabolic traits, as well as strain-specific interactions between CLas and its hosts, laying the foundation for the development of model-driven Huanglongbing management strategies.
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) is a destructive disease that causes significant damage to many citrus producing areas worldwide. To date, no strategy against this disease has been established. Inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) plays crucial roles in the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides. This enzyme is used as a potential target to treat bacterial infection. In this study, the crystal structure of a deletion mutant of CLas IMPDHΔ98-201 in the apo form was determined. Eight known bioactive compounds were used as ligands for molecular docking. The results showed that bronopol and disulfiram bound to CLas IMPDHΔ98-201 with high affinity. These compounds were tested for their inhibition against CLas IMPDHΔ98-201 activity. Bronopol and disulfiram showed high inhibition at nanomolar concentrations, and bronopol was found to be the most potent molecule (Ki = 234 nM). The Ki value of disulfiram was 616 nM. These results suggest that bronopol and disulfiram can be considered potential candidate agents for the development of CLas inhibitors.