‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is the pathogenic bacterium that causes the disease Huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus and some model plants, such as Nicotiana benthamiana. After infection, CLas releases a set of effectors to modulate host responses. One of these critical effectors is Sec-delivered effector 1 (SDE1), which induces chlorosis and cell death in N. benthamiana. In this study, we revealed the DEAD-box RNA helicase (DDX3) interacts with SDE1. Gene silencing study revealed that knockdown of the NbDDX3 gene triggers leaf chlorosis, mimicking the primary symptom of CLas infection in N. benthamiana. The interactions between SDE1 and NbDDX3 were localized in the cell membrane. Overexpression of SDE1 resulted in suppression of NbDDX3 gene expression in N. benthamiana, which suggests a critical role of SDE1 in modulating NbDDX3 expression. Furthermore, we verified the interaction of SDE1 with citrus DDX3 (CsDDX3), and demonstrated that the expression of the CsDDX3 gene was significantly reduced in HLB-affected yellowing and mottled leaves of citrus. Thus, we provide molecular evidence that the downregulation of the host DDX3 gene is a crucial mechanism of leaf chlorosis in HLB-affected plants. The identification of CsDDX3 as a critical target of SDE1 and its association with HLB symptom development indicates that the DDX3 gene is an important target for gene editing, to interrupt the interaction between DDX3 and SDE1, and therefore interfere host susceptibility.
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.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating citrus disease that has caused massive economic losses to the citrus industry worldwide. The disease is endemic in most citrus-producing areas of southern China, especially in the sweet orange orchards where soil acidification has intensified. In this work, we used lime as soil pH amendment to optimize soil pH and enhance the endurance capacity of citrus against Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). The results showed that regulation of soil acidity is effective to reduce the occurrence of new infections and mitigate disease severity in the presence of HLB disease. We also studied the associated molecular mechanism and found that acid soil improvement can (i) increase the root metabolic activity and up-regulate the expression of ion transporter-related genes in HLB-infected roots, (ii) alleviate the physiological disorders of sieve tube blockage of HLB-infected leaves, (iii) strengthen the citrus immune response by increasing the expression of genes involved in SAR and activating the salicylic acid signal pathway, (iv) up-regulate 55 proteins related to stress/defence response and secondary metabolism. This study contributes to a better understanding of the correlation between environment factors and HLB disease outbreaks and also suggests that acid soil improvement is of potential value for the management of HLB disease in southern China.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is one of the causal agents of citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), a bacterial disease of citrus trees that greatly reduces fruit yield and quality. CLas strains produce an array of currently uncharacterized Sec-dependent secretory proteins. In this study, the conserved chromosomally encoded protein CLIBASIA_03875 was identified as a novel Sec-dependent secreted protein. We show that CLIBASIA_03875 contains a putative Sec- secretion signal peptide (SP), a 29 amino acid residue located at the N-terminus, with a mature protein (m3875) of 22 amino acids found to localize in multiple subcellular components of the leaf epidermal cells of Nicotiana benthamiana. When overexpressed via a Potato virus X (PVX)-based expression vector in N. benthamiana, m3875 suppressed programmed cell death (PCD) and the H2O2 accumulation triggered by the pro-apoptotic mouse protein BAX and the Phytophthora infestans elicitin INF1. Overexpression also resulted in a phenotype of dwarfing, leaf deformation and mosaics, suggesting that m3875 has roles in plant immune response, growth, and development. Substitution mutagenesis of the charged amino acid (D7, R9, R11, and K22) with alanine within m3875 did not recover the phenotypes for PCD and normal growth. In addition, the transiently overexpressed m3875 regulated the transcriptional levels of N. benthamiana orthologs of CNGCs (cyclic nucleotide-gated channels), BI-1 (Bax-inhibitor 1), and WRKY33 that are involved in plant defense mechanisms. To our knowledge, m3875 is the first PCD suppressor identified from CLas. Studying the function of this protein provides insight as to how CLas attenuates the host immune responses to proliferate and cause Huanglongbing disease in citrus plants.
Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, is the most destructive disease of citrus worldwide. HLB is associated with the non-culturable bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CaLas) in the United States. The virulence mechanism of CaLas is largely unknown, partly because of the lack of a mutant library. In this study, Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Nicotiana benthamiana (N. benthamiana) were used for large-scale screening of the virulence factors of CaLas. Agroinfiltration of 60 putative virulence factors in N. benthamiana led to the identification of four candidates that caused severe symptoms in N. benthamiana, such as growth inhibition and cell death. CLIBASIA_05150 and CLIBASIA_04065C (C-terminal of CLIBASIA_04065) could cause cell death in the infiltrated leaves at five days post infiltration. Two low-molecular-weight candidates, CLIBASIA_00470 and CLIBASIA_04025, could inhibit plant growth. By converting start codon to stop codon or frameshifting, the four genes lost their harmful effects to N. benthamiana. It indicated that the four virulence factors functioned at the protein level rather than at the RNA level. The subcellular localization of the four candidates was determined by confocal laser scanning microscope. CLIBASIA_05150 located in the Golgi apparatus; CLIBASIA_04065 located in the mitochondrion; CLIBASIA_00470 and CLIBASIA_04025 distributed in cells as free GFP. The host proteins interacting with the four virulence factors were identified by yeast two-hybrid. The host proteins interacting with CLIBASIA_00470 and CLIBASIA_04025 were overlapping. Based on the phenotypes, the subcellular localization and the host proteins identified by yeast two-hybrid, CLIBASIA_00470 and CLIBASIA_04025, functioned redundantly. The hypothesis of CaLas virulence was proposed. CaLas affects citrus development and suppresses citrus disease resistance, comprehensively, in a complicated manner. Ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation might play a vital role in CaLas virulence. Deep characterization of the interactions between the identified virulence factors and their prey will shed light on HLB. Eventually, it will help in developing HLB-resistant citrus and save the endangered citrus industry worldwide.
Sponges represent ecologically important models to understand the evolution of symbiotic interactions of metazoans with microbial symbionts.
are commonly found in sponges, but their potential adaptations to a host-associated lifestyle are largely unknown. Here, we present three novel sponge-associated thaumarchaeal species and compare their genomic and predicted functional features with those of closely related free-living counterparts. We found different degrees of specialization of these thaumarchaeal species to the sponge environment that is reflected in their host distribution and their predicted molecular and metabolic properties. Our results indicate that
may have reached different stages of evolutionary adaptation in their symbiosis with sponges.
Accumulibacter phosphatis” is widely found in full-scale wastewater treatment plants, where it has been identified as the key organism for biological removal of phosphorus. Since aeration can account for 50% of the energy use during wastewater treatment, microaerobic conditions for wastewater treatment have emerged as a cost-effective alternative to conventional biological nutrient removal processes. Our report provides strong genomics-based evidence not only that “
. Accumulibacter phosphatis” is the main organism contributing to phosphorus removal under microaerobic conditions but also that this organism simultaneously respires nitrate and oxygen in this environment, consequently removing nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater. Such activity could be harnessed in innovative designs for cost-effective and energy-efficient optimization of wastewater treatment systems.
Secondary metabolites, which are small-molecule organic compounds produced by living organisms, provide or inspire drugs for many different diseases. These natural products have evolved over millions of years to provide a survival benefit to the producing organism and often display potent biological activity with important therapeutic applications. For instance, defensive compounds in the environment may be cytotoxic to eukaryotic cells, a property exploitable for cancer treatment. Here, we describe the genome of an uncultured symbiotic bacterium that makes such a cytotoxic metabolite. This symbiont is losing genes that do not endow a selective advantage in a hospitable host environment. Secondary metabolism genes, however, are repeated multiple times in the genome, directly demonstrating their selective advantage. This finding shows the strength of selective forces in symbiotic relationships and suggests that uncultured bacteria in such relationships should be targeted for drug discovery efforts.
-like bacteria are among the most diverse and widespread nitrifiers in natural ecosystems and the dominant nitrite oxidizers in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The recent discovery of comammox-like
strains, capable of complete oxidation of ammonia to nitrate, raises new questions about specific traits responsible for the functional versatility and adaptation of this genus to a variety of environments. The availability of new
genome sequences from both nitrite-oxidizing and comammox bacteria offers a way to analyze traits in different
functional groups. Our comparative genomics analysis provided new insights into the adaptation of
strains to specific lifestyles and environmental niches.