The potato/tomato psyllid, Bactericerca cockerelli (B. cockerelli), and the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (D. citri), are very important plant pests, but they are also vectors of phloem-limited bacteria that are associated with two devastating plant diseases. B. cockerelli is the vector of Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous (solanacearum), which is associated with zebra chip disease of potatoes, and D. citri is the vector of Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus, which is associated with the Huanglongbing (citrus greening) disease that currently threatens the entire Florida citrus industry. Here we used EST sequence information from D. citri to identify potential targets for RNA interference in B. cockerelli. We targeted ubiquitously expressed and gut-abundant mRNAs via injection and oral acquisition of double-stranded RNAs and siRNAs and were able to induce mortality in recipient psyllids. We also showed knockdown of target mRNAs, and that oral acquisition resulted primarily in mRNA knockdown in the psyllid gut. Concurrent with gene knockdown was the accumulation of target specific ∼ 21 nucleotide siRNAs for an abundant mRNA for BC-Actin. These results showed that RNAi can be a powerful tool for gene function studies in psyllids, and give support for continued efforts for investigating RNAi approaches as possible tools for psyllid and plant disease control.
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus is a fastidious, phloem-inhabiting, gram-negative bacterium transmitted by Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). The bacterium is the presumed causal agent of huanglongbing (HLB), one of the most destructive and economically important diseases of citrus. We investigated whether Las is transmitted between infected and uninfected D. citri adults during courtship. Our results indicate that Las was sexually transmitted from Las-infected male D. citri to uninfected females at a low rate (<4%) during mating. Sexual transmission was not observed following mating of infected females and uninfected males or among adult pairs of the same sex. Las was detected in genitalia of both sexes and also in eggs of infected females. A latent period of 7 days or more was required to detect the bacterium in recipient females. Rod shaped as well as spherical structures resembling Las were observed in ovaries of Las-infected females with transmission electron microscopy, but were absent in ovaries from uninfected D. citri females. The size of the rod shaped structures varied from 0.39 to 0.67 µm in length and 0.19 to 0.39 µm in width. The spherical structures measured from 0.61 to 0.80 µm in diameter. This investigation provides convincing evidence that a plant pathogenic bacterium is sexually transmitted from male to female insects during courtship and established evidence that bacteria persist in reproductive organs. Moreover, these findings provide an alternative sexually horizontal mechanism for the spread of Las within populations of D. citri, even in the absence of infected host trees.
Some plant pathogens form obligate relationships with their insect vector and are vertically transmitted via eggs analogous to insect endosymbionts. Whether insect endosymbionts manipulate plant defenses to benefit their insect host remains unclear. The tomato psyllid, Bactericerca cockerelli (Sulc), vectors the endosymbiont “Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous” (Lps) during feeding on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). Lps titer in psyllids varied relative to the psyllid developmental stage with younger psyllids harboring smaller Lps populations compared to older psyllids. In the present study, feeding by different life stages of B. cockerelli infected with Lps, resulted in distinct tomato transcript profiles. Feeding by young psyllid nymphs, with lower Lps levels, induced tomato genes regulated by jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) (Allene oxide synthase, Proteinase inhibitor 2, Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase 5, Pathogenesis-related protein 1) compared to feeding by older nymphs and adults, where higher Lps titers were found. In addition, inoculation of Lps without insect hosts suppressed accumulation of these defense transcripts. Collectively, these data suggest that the endosymbiont-like pathogen Lps manipulates plant signaling and defensive responses to benefit themselves and the success of their obligate insect vector on their host plant.
Although bacterial endosymbioses are common among phloeophagous herbivores, little is known regarding the effects of symbionts on herbivore host selection and population dynamics. We tested the hypothesis that plant selection and reproductive performance by a phloem-feeding herbivore (potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli) is mediated by infection of plants with a bacterial endosymbiont. We controlled for the effects of herbivory and endosymbiont infection by exposing potato plants (Solanum tuberosum) to psyllids infected with “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” or to uninfected psyllids. We used these treatments as a basis to experimentally test plant volatile emissions, herbivore settling and oviposition preferences, and herbivore population growth. Three important findings emerged: (1) plant volatile profiles differed with respect to both herbivory and herbivory plus endosymbiont infection when compared to undamaged control plants; (2) herbivores initially settled on plants exposed to endosymbiont-infected psyllids but later defected and oviposited primarily on plants exposed only to uninfected psyllids; and (3) plant infection status had little effect on herbivore reproduction, though plant flowering was associated with a 39% reduction in herbivore density on average. Our experiments support the hypothesis that plant infection with endosymbionts alters plant volatile profiles, and infected plants initially recruited herbivores but later repelled them. Also, our findings suggest that the endosymbiont may not place negative selection pressure on its host herbivore in this system, but plant flowering phenology appears correlated with psyllid population performance.
Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), the Asian citrus psyllid, is the insect vector of Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus, the causal agent of citrus greening disease. Sequencing of the D. citri metagenome has been initiated to gain better understanding of the biology of this organism and the potential roles of its bacterial endosymbionts. To corroborate candidate endosymbionts previously identified by rDNA amplification, raw reads from the D. citri metagenome sequence were mapped to reference genome sequences. Results of the read mapping provided the most support for Wolbachia and an enteric bacterium most similar to Salmonella. Wolbachia-derived reads were extracted using the complete genome sequences for four Wolbachia strains. Reads were assembled into a draft genome sequence, and the annotation assessed for the presence of features potentially involved in host interaction. Genome alignment with the complete sequences reveals membership of Wolbachia wDi in supergroup B, further supported by phylogenetic analysis of FtsZ. FtsZ and Wsp phylogenies additionally indicate that the Wolbachia strain in the Florida D. citri isolate falls into a sub-clade of supergroup B, distinct from Wolbachia present in Chinese D. citri isolates, supporting the hypothesis that the D. citri introduced into Florida did not originate from China.
The relationship between the causal agent of Huanglongbing (HLB), Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus(Las), and the naturally occurring endosymbiotic community of its insect vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri, was studied. Variation was observed in the titer of Las within an ACP population feeding on the same material. The cause of this disparity is unknown, and has implications for Las transmission and the spread of HLB. This study utilizes culture independent methods to establish the relationship between the ACP’s microbial community and Las acquisition. DNA from 21 psyllids was amplified using universal 16S rRNA primers with Illumina adaptor regions and a sample-specific 7- base identifier. These amplicons were then batch-sequenced on the Illumina platform. The resulting sequences were separated by the identifier, and compared to known sequences in a 16S rRNA database. The microbial communities of each psyllid were compared to determine whether a correlation exists between the ACP’s endosymbionts and level of Las acquisition.
ACPs were dominated by the same four bacterialgenera regardless of the abundance of Ca.Liberibacter. A combination of qPCR and Illumina sequencing was used to establish an infection gradient among the sampled ACPs. The Ca. Liberibacter titer within the insect was found to have a strong negative relationship with an endosymbiont residing in the syncytium of the mycetocyte and a positive relationship with Wolbachia. These correlations have implications in the acquisition of Las by the ACP as well as the activities of Las within this vector.
Bacteriocyte; Huanglongbing; Illumina; multiplex; psyllid; syncytium endosymbiont.
Plant pathogens and insect herbivores are prone to share hosts under natural conditions. Consequently, pathogen-induced changes in the host plant can affect herbivory, and vice versa. Even though plant viruses are ubiquitous in the field, little is known about plant-mediated interactions between viruses and non-vectoring herbivores. We investigated the effects of virus infection on subsequent infestation by a non-vectoring herbivore in a natural genotype of Trifolium repens (white clover). We tested whether infection with White clover mosaic virus (WClMV) alters (1) the effects of fungus gnat feeding on plant growth, (2) the attractiveness of white clover for adult fungus gnat females, and (3) the volatile emission of white clover plants. We observed only marginal effects of WClMV infection on the interaction between fungus gnat larvae and white clover. However, adult fungus gnat females clearly preferred non-infected over WClMV-infected plants. Non-infected and virus-infected plants could easily be discriminated based on their volatile blends, suggesting that the preference of fungus gnats for non-infected plants may be mediated by virus-induced changes in volatile emissions. The compound β-caryophyllene was exclusively detected in the headspace of virus-infected plants and may hence be particularly important for the preference of fungus gnat females. Our results demonstrate that WClMV infection can decrease the attractiveness of white clover plants for fungus gnat females. This suggests that virus infections may contribute to protecting their hosts by decreasing herbivore infestation rates. Consequently, it is conceivable that viruses play a more beneficial role in plant–herbivore interactions than generally thought.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2322-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Pathogens; Three-way interactions; Trifolium repens; Volatiles; White clover mosaic virus
This study was conducted to obtain information on the cold hardiness of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), in Florida and to assess upper and lower temperature thresholds for oviposition. The psyllid is an important pest in citrus because it transmits the bacterial pathogens responsible for citrus greening disease, Huanglongbing, considered the most serious citrus disease worldwide. D. citri was first found in Florida during 1998, and the disease was discovered during 2005. Little was known regarding cold hardiness of D. citri, but Florida citrus is occasionally subjected to notable freeze events. Temperature and duration were each significant sources of variation in percent mortality of D. citri subjected to freeze events. Relatively large percentages of adults and nymphs survived after being exposed for several hours to temperatures as low as -5 to -6° C. Relatively large percentages of eggs hatched after being exposed for several hours to temperatures as low as -8° C. Research results indicated that adult D. citri become cold acclimated during the winter through exposure to cooler winter temperatures. There was no evidence that eggs became cold acclimated during winter. Cold acclimation in nymphs was not investigated. Research with adult D. citri from laboratory and greenhouse colonies revealed that mild to moderate freeze events were usually nonlethal to the D. citri irrespective of whether they were cold acclimated or not. Upper and lower temperature thresholds for oviposition were investigated because such information may be valuable in explaining the geographic distribution and potential spread of the pest from Florida as well as how cooler winter temperatures might limit population growth. The estimated lower and upper thresholds for oviposition were 16.0 and 41.6° C, respectively; the estimated temperature of peak oviposition over a 48 h period was 29.6° C.
insecticide; cold acclimation; Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus; Huanglongbing
Plant volatiles include terpenoids, which are generally involved in plant defense, repelling pests and pathogens and attracting insects for herbivore control, pollination and seed dispersal. Orange fruits accumulate the monoterpene limonene at high levels in the oil glands of their fruit peels. When limonene production was downregulated in orange fruits by the transgenic expression of a limonene synthase (CitMTSE1) in the antisense configuration, these fruits were resistant to the fungus Penicillium digitatum (Pers.) Sacc. and the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri and were less attractive to the medfly pest Ceratitis capitata. These responses were reversed when the antisense transgenic orange fruits were treated with limonene. To gain more insight into the role of the limonene concentration in fruit responses to pests and pathogens, we attempted to overexpress CitMTSE1 in the sense configuration in transgenic orange fruits. Only slight increases in the amount of limonene were found in sense transgenic fruits, maybe due to the detrimental effect that excessive limonene accumulation would have on plant development. Collectively, these results suggest that when limonene reaches peak levels as the fruit develops, it becomes a signal for pest and pathogen attraction, which facilitate access to the fruit for pulp consumers and seed dispersers.
co-evolution; defense; repellency; secondary metabolism; seed dispersers; trophic interaction; volatiles
Plant chemicals mediating interactions with insect herbivores seem a likely target for manipulation by insectvectored plant pathogens. Yet, little is currently known about the chemical ecology of insect-vectored diseases or their effects on the ecology of vector and nonvector insects. We recently reported that a widespread plant pathogen, Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), greatly reduces the quality of host-plants (squash) for aphid vectors, but that aphids are nevertheless attracted to the odors of infected plants—which exhibit elevated emissions of a volatile blend otherwise similar to the odor of healthy plants. This finding suggests that exaggerating existing host-location cues can be a viable vector attraction strategy for pathogens that otherwise reduce host quality for vectors. Here we report additional data regarding the effects of CMV infection on plant interactions with a common nonvector herbivore, the squash bug, Anasa tristis, which is a pest in this system. We found that adult A. tristis females preferred to oviposit on healthy plants in the field, and that healthy plants supported higher populations of nymphs. Collectively, our recent findings suggest that CMV-induced changes in host plant chemistry influence the behavior of both vector and non-vector herbivores, with significant implications both for disease spread and for broader community-level interactions.
vector behavior; Cucumber mosaic virus; volatiles; parasite manipulation; Anasa tristis; Cucurbita pepo
Inbreeding is common in flowering plants, but relatively few studies have examined its effects on interactions between plants and other organisms, such as herbivores and pathogens. In a recent paper, we documented effects of inbreeding depression on plant volatile signaling phenotypes, including elevated constitutive volatile emissions (and consequently greater herbivore recruitment to inbred plants) but reduced emission of key herbivore-induced volatiles that attract predatory and parasitic insects to damaged plants. While the effects of inbreeding on plant-insect interactions have been explored in only a few systems, even less is known about its effects on plant-pathogen interactions. Here we report the effects of inbreeding on horsenettle susceptibility to powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici), including more rapid onset of infection in inbred plants, particularly when plants were not previously damaged. These data suggest that inbreeding may increase plant susceptibility to pathogen infection and, therefore, may potentially facilitate pathogen establishment in natural populations.
Solanum carolinense; herbivory; inbreeding; pathogen; powdery mildew; resistance
Huanglongbing (HLB) is presently the most devastating citrus disease worldwide. As an intracellular plant pathogen and insect symbiont, the HLB bacterium, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las), retains the entire flagellum-encoding gene cluster in its significantly reduced genome. Las encodes a flagellin and hook-associated protein (Fla) of 452 amino acids that contains a conserved 22 amino acid domain (flg22) at positions 29 to 50 in the N-terminus. The phenotypic alteration in motility of a Sinorhizobium meliloti mutant lacking the fla genes was partially restored by constitutive expression of FlaLas. Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression in planta revealed that FlaLas induced cell death and callose deposition in Nicotiana benthamiana, and that the transcription of BAK1 and SGT1, which are associated with plant innate immunity, was upregulated. Amino acid substitution experiments revealed that residues 38 (serine) and 39 (aspartate) of FlaLas were essential for callose induction. The synthetic flg22Las peptide could not induce plant cell death but retained the ability to induce callose deposition at a concentration of 20 µM or above. This demonstrated that the pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) activity of flg22 in Las was weaker than those in other well-studied plant pathogenic bacteria. These results indicate that FlaLas acts as a PAMP and may play an important role in triggering host plant resistance to the HLB bacteria.
A new huanglongbing (HLB) “Candidatus Liberibacter” species is genetically characterized, and the bacterium is designated “Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous.” This bacterium infects the psyllid Bactericera cockerelli and its solanaceous host plants potato and tomato, potentially resulting in “psyllid yellowing.” Host plant-dependent HLB transmission and variation in psyllid infection frequencies are found.
Pathogens and parasites can induce changes in host or vector behavior that enhance their transmission. In plant systems, such effects are largely restricted to vectors, because they are mobile and may exhibit preferences dependent upon plant host infection status. Here we report the first evidence that acquisition of a plant virus directly alters host selection behavior by its insect vector. We show that the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi, after acquiring Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) during in vitro feeding, prefers noninfected wheat plants, while noninfective aphids also fed in vitro prefer BYDV-infected plants. This behavioral change should promote pathogen spread since noninfective vector preference for infected plants will promote acquisition, while infective vector preference for noninfected hosts will promote transmission. We propose the “Vector Manipulation Hypothesis” to explain the evolution of strategies in plant pathogens to enhance their spread to new hosts. Our findings have implications for disease and vector management.
Plant volatiles play an important role in defending plants against insect attacks by attracting their natural enemies. For example, green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and terpenoids emitted from herbivore-damaged plants were found to be important in the host location of parasitic wasps. However, evidence of the functional roles and mechanisms of these semio-chemicals from a system of multiple plants in prey location by the parasitoid is limited. Little is known about the potential evolutionary trends between herbivore-induced host plant volatiles and the host location of their parasitoids.
The present study includes hierarchical cluster analyses of plant volatile profiles from seven families of host and non-host plants of pea leafminer, Liriomyza huidobrensis, and behavioral responses of a naive parasitic wasp, Opius dissitus, to some principal volatile compounds. Here we show that plants can effectively pull wasps, O. dissitus, towards them by releasing a universally induced compound, (Z)-3-hexenol, and potentially keep these plants safe from parasitic assaults by leafminer pests, L. huidobrensis. Specifically, we found that volatile profiles from healthy plants revealed a partly phylogenetic signal, while the inducible compounds of the infested-plants did not result from the fact that the induced plant volatiles dominate most of the volatile blends of the host and non-host plants of the leafminer pests. We further show that the parasitoids are capable of distinguishing the damaged host plant from the non-host plant of the leafminers.
Our results suggest that, as the most passive scenario of plant involvement, leafminers and mechanical damages evoke similar semio-chemicals. Using ubiquitous compounds, such as hexenol, for host location by general parasitoids could be an adaptation of the most conservative evolution of tritrophic interaction. Although for this, other compounds may be used to improve the precision of the host location by the parasitoids.
Zebra complex (ZC) disease on potatoes is associated with Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLs), an α-proteobacterium that resides in the plant phloem and is transmitted by the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc). The name ZC originates from the brown striping in fried chips of infected tubers, but the whole plants also exhibit a variety of morphological features and symptoms for which the physiological or molecular basis are not understood. We determined that compared to healthy plants, stems of ZC-plants accumulate starch and more than three-fold total protein, including gene expression regulatory factors (e.g. cyclophilin) and tuber storage proteins (e.g., patatins), indicating that ZC-affected stems are reprogrammed to exhibit tuber-like physiological properties. Furthermore, the total phenolic content in ZC potato stems was elevated two-fold, and amounts of polyphenol oxidase enzyme were also high, both serving to explain the ZC-hallmark rapid brown discoloration of air-exposed damaged tissue. Newly developed quantitative and/or conventional PCR demonstrated that the percentage of psyllids in laboratory colonies containing detectable levels of CLs and its titer could fluctuate over time with effects on colony prolificacy, but presumed reproduction-associated primary endosymbiont levels remained stable. Potato plants exposed in the laboratory to psyllid populations with relatively low-CLs content survived while exposure of plants to high-CLs psyllids rapidly culminated in a lethal collapse. In conclusion, we identified plant physiological biomarkers associated with the presence of ZC and/or CLs in the vegetative potato plant tissue and determined that the titer of CLs in the psyllid population directly affects the rate of disease development in plants.
An intracellular plant pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus,’ a member of the Rhizobiales, is related to Sinorhizobium meliloti, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, nitrogen fixing endosymbionts, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a plant pathogen, and Bartonella henselae, an intracellular mammalian pathogen. Whole chromosome comparisons identified at least 50 clusters of conserved orthologous genes found on the chromosomes of all five metabolically diverse species. The intracellular pathogens ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ and Bartonella henselae have genomes drastically reduced in gene content and size as well as a relatively low content of guanine and cytosine. Codon and amino acid preferences that emphasize low guanosine and cytosine usage are globally employed in these genomes, including within regions of microsynteny and within signature sequences of orthologous proteins. The length of orthologous proteins is generally conserved, but not their isoelectric points, consistent with extensive amino acid substitutions to accommodate selection for low GC content. The ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ genome apparently has all of the genes required for DNA replication present in Sinorhizobium meliloti except it has only two, rather than three RNaseH genes. The gene set required for DNA repair has only one rather than ten DNA ligases found in Sinorhizobium meliloti, and the DNA PolI of ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ lacks domains needed for excision repair. Thus the ability of ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ to repair mutations in its genome may be impaired. Both ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus and Bartonella henselae lack enzymes needed for the metabolism of purines and pyrimidines, which must therefore be obtained from the host. The ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ genome also has a greatly reduced set of sigma factors used to control transcription, and lacks sigma factors 24, 28 and 38. The ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ genome has all of the hallmarks of a reduced genome of a pathogen adapted to an intracellular lifestyle.
This review describes the pathway a plant pathogenic mycoplasma or spiroplasma takes in its passage through a leafhopper vector. Reference is made to several strains of spiroplasma and acholeplasma, but, in particular, data are presented for Spiroplasma citri and the corn stunt spiroplasma. Acquisition of the organisms is discussed, together with the different methods of infection (feeding on plants and through membranes or following injection) and the effect they have on the inoculum dose. The dose, together with the environmental conditions, are also factors which effect multiplication in both whole insects and salivary glands. Titers reached by the organisms in the insect are given. Pathogenic effects on the insects are discussed. The analogy is given of the insect acting as a chemostat with poor nutrition or high temperature adversely affecting the balance. Feeding behavior and the number of organisms ejected are two factors affecting transmission.
Spiroplasma citri is transmitted from plant to plant by phloem-feeding leafhoppers. In an attempt to identify mechanisms involved in transmission, mutants of S. citri affected in their transmission must be available. For this purpose, transposon (Tn4001) mutagenesis was used to produce mutants which have been screened for their ability to be transmitted by the leafhopper vector Circulifer haematoceps to periwinkle plants. With one mutant (G76) which multiplied in leafhoppers as efficiently as S. citri wild-type (wt) strain GII-3, the plants showed symptoms 4 to 5 weeks later than those infected with wt GII-3. Thirty to fifty percent of plants exposed to leafhoppers injected with G76 remained symptomless, whereas for wt GII-3, all plants exposed to the transmission showed severe symptoms. This suggests that the mutant G76 was injected into plants by the leafhoppers less efficiently than wt GII-3. To check this possibility, the number of spiroplasma cells injected by a leafhopper through a Parafilm membrane into SP4 medium was determined. Thirty times less mutant G76 than wt GII-3 was transmitted through the membrane. These results suggest that mutant G76 was affected either in its capacity to penetrate the salivary glands and/or to multiply within them. In mutant G76, transposon Tn4001 was shown to be inserted into a gene encoding a putative lipoprotein (Sc76) In the ABCdb database Sc76 protein was noted as a solute binding protein of an ABC transporter of the family S1_b. Functional complementation of the G76 mutant with the Sc76 gene restored the wild phenotype, showing that Sc76 protein is involved in S. citri transmission by the leafhopper vector C. haematoceps.
Transmission of the phytopathogenic mollicutes, spiroplasmas, and phytoplasmas by their insect vectors mainly depends on their ability to pass through gut cells, to multiply in various tissues, and to traverse the salivary gland cells. The passage of these different barriers suggests molecular interactions between the plant mollicute and the insect vector that regulate transmission. In the present study, we focused on the interaction between Spiroplasma citri and its leafhopper vector, Circulifer haematoceps. An in vitro protein overlay assay identified five significant binding activities between S. citri proteins and insect host proteins from salivary glands. One insect protein involved in one binding activity was identified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) as actin. Confocal microscopy observations of infected salivary glands revealed that spiroplasmas colocated with the host actin filaments. An S. citri actin-binding protein of 44 kDa was isolated by affinity chromatography and identified by LC-MS/MS as phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK). To investigate the role of the PGK-actin interaction, we performed competitive binding and internalization assays on leafhopper cultured cell lines (Ciha-1) in which His6-tagged PGK from S. citri or purified PGK from Saccharomyces cerevisiae was added prior to the addition of S. citri inoculum. The results suggested that exogenous PGK has no effect on spiroplasmal attachment to leafhopper cell surfaces but inhibits S. citri internalization, demonstrating that the process leading to internalization of S. citri in eukaryotic cells requires the presence of PGK. PGK, regardless of origin, reduced the entry of spiroplasmas into Ciha-1 cells in a dose-dependent manner.
Many plants release airborne volatile compounds in response to wounding due to pathogenic assault. These compounds serve as plant defenses and are involved in plant signaling. Here, we study the effects of pectin methylesterase (PME)-generated methanol release from wounded plants (“emitters”) on the defensive reactions of neighboring “receiver” plants. Plant leaf wounding resulted in the synthesis of PME and a spike in methanol released into the air. Gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded PME-transgenic plants induced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the leaves of non-wounded neighboring “receiver” plants. In experiments with different volatile organic compounds, gaseous methanol was the only airborne factor that could induce antibacterial resistance in neighboring plants. In an effort to understand the mechanisms by which methanol stimulates the antibacterial resistance of “receiver” plants, we constructed forward and reverse suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA libraries from Nicotiana benthamiana plants exposed to methanol. We identified multiple methanol-inducible genes (MIGs), most of which are involved in defense or cell-to-cell trafficking. We then isolated the most affected genes for further analysis: β-1,3-glucanase (BG), a previously unidentified gene (MIG-21), and non-cell-autonomous pathway protein (NCAPP). Experiments with Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and a vector encoding two tandem copies of green fluorescent protein as a tracer of cell-to-cell movement showed the increased gating capacity of plasmodesmata in the presence of BG, MIG-21, and NCAPP. The increased gating capacity is accompanied by enhanced TMV reproduction in the “receivers”. Overall, our data indicate that methanol emitted by a wounded plant acts as a signal that enhances antibacterial resistance and facilitates viral spread in neighboring plants.
The mechanical wounding of plant leaves, which is one of the first steps in pathogen infection and herbivore attack, activates signal transduction pathways and airborne signals to fend off harmful organisms. The mechanisms by which these signals promote plant immunity remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that plant leaf wounding results in the synthesis of a cell wall enzyme, pectin methylesterase (PME), causing the plant to release methanol into the air. Gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded PME-transgenic plants induced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the leaves of non-wounded neighboring “receiver” plants. To investigate the mechanism underlying this phenomenon, we identified the methanol inducible genes (MIGs) in Nicotiana benthamiana, most of which fell into the category of defense genes. We selected and isolated the following genes: non-cell-autonomous pathway protein (NCAPP), β-1,3-glucanase (BG), and the previously unidentified MIG-21. We demonstrated that BG, MIG-21 and NCAPP could enhance cell-to-cell communication and Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) RNA accumulation. Moreover, gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded plants increased TMV reproduction in “receivers”. Thus, methanol emitted by a wounded plant enhances antibacterial resistance as well as cell-to-cell communication that facilitate virus spreading in neighboring plants.
Aspects of the incidence and spread of the citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB) in relation to the vector Diaphorina citri population fluctuation were studied from January 1999 to December 2001 seasons in a 0.8 ha citrus orchard at Jemukan (1° 33′N, 110° 41′E), Southwest Sarawak in Malaysia. In relation to insecticide and horticultural mineral oils (HMOs) use, levels of HLB infection rose quite rapidly over the next 3 years in the unsprayed control and less rapidly in the other treatments such as imidacloprid, nC24HMO, and triazophos/cypermethrin/chlorpyrifos. Levels of HLB as determined by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) were 42.2%, 9.4%, 11.4%, and 22.7%, respectively. The effects of nC24HMO and conventional pesticides on the citrus psyllid population and parasitoids in citrus orchard were also determined.
Sinorhizobium meliloti strain 1021, a nitrogen-fixing, root-nodulating bacterial microsymbiont of alfalfa, has a 3.5 Mbp circular chromosome and two megaplasmids including 1.3 Mbp pSymA carrying nonessential ‘accessory’ genes for nitrogen fixation (nif), nodulation and host specificity (nod). A related bacterium, psyllid-vectored ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus,’ is an obligate phytopathogen with a reduced genome that was previously analyzed for genes orthologous to genes on the S. meliloti circular chromosome. In general, proteins encoded by pSymA genes are more similar in sequence alignment to those encoded by S. meliloti chromosomal orthologs than to orthologous proteins encoded by genes carried on the ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ genome. Only two ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ proteins were identified as having orthologous proteins encoded on pSymA but not also encoded on the chromosome of S. meliloti. These two orthologous gene pairs encode a Na+/K+ antiporter (shared with intracellular pathogens of the family Bartonellacea) and a Co++, Zn++ and Cd++ cation efflux protein that is shared with the phytopathogen Agrobacterium. Another shared protein, a redox-regulated K+ efflux pump may regulate cytoplasmic pH and homeostasis. The pSymA and ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ orthologs of the latter protein are more highly similar in amino acid alignment compared with the alignment of the pSymA-encoded protein with its S. meliloti chromosomal homolog. About 182 pSymA encoded proteins have sequence similarity (≤E-10) with ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ proteins, often present as multiple orthologs of single ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ proteins. These proteins are involved with amino acid uptake, cell surface structure, chaperonins, electron transport, export of bioactive molecules, cellular homeostasis, regulation of gene expression, signal transduction and synthesis of amino acids and metabolic cofactors. The presence of multiple orthologs defies mutational analysis and is consistent with the hypothesis that these proteins may be of particular importance in host/microbe interaction and their duplication likely facilitates their ongoing evolution.
Zebra Chip (ZC) is an emerging plant disease that causes aboveground decline of
potato shoots and generally results in unusable tubers. This disease has led to
multi-million dollar losses for growers in the central and western United States
over the past decade and impacts the livelihood of potato farmers in Mexico and
New Zealand. ZC is associated with ‘Candidatus
Liberibacter solanacearum’, a fastidious alpha-proteobacterium that is
transmitted by a phloem-feeding psyllid vector, Bactericera
cockerelli Sulc. Research on this disease has been hampered by a
lack of robust culture methods and paucity of genome sequence information for
‘Ca. L. solanacearum’. Here we present the
sequence of the 1.26 Mbp metagenome of ‘Ca. L.
solanacearum’, based on DNA isolated from potato psyllids. The coding
inventory of the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ genome was
analyzed and compared to related Rhizobiaceae to better
understand ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ physiology and
identify potential targets to develop improved treatment strategies. This
analysis revealed a number of unique transporters and pathways, all potentially
contributing to ZC pathogenesis. Some of these factors may have been acquired
through horizontal gene transfer. Taxonomically, ‘Ca. L.
solanacearum’ is related to ‘Ca. L.
asiaticus’, a suspected causative agent of citrus huanglongbing, yet many
genome rearrangements and several gene gains/losses are evident when comparing
these two Liberibacter. species. Relative to ‘Ca. L.
asiaticus’, ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ probably
has reduced capacity for nucleic acid modification, increased amino acid and
vitamin biosynthesis functionalities, and gained a high-affinity iron transport
system characteristic of several pathogenic microbes.
To examine the effect of pathogens on the diversity and structure of plant-associated bacterial communities, we carried out a molecular analysis using citrus and huanglongbing as a host-disease model. 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis of citrus roots revealed shifts in microbial diversity in response to pathogen infection. The clone library of the uninfected root samples has a majority of phylotypes showing similarity to well-known plant growth-promoting bacteria, including Caulobacter, Burkholderia, Lysobacter, Pantoea, Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, Bacillus, and Paenibacillus. Infection by “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” restructured the native microbial community associated with citrus roots and led to the loss of detection of most phylotypes while promoting the growth of bacteria such as Methylobacterium and Sphingobacterium. In pairwise comparisons, the clone library from uninfected roots contained significantly higher 16S rRNA gene diversity, as reflected in the higher Chao 1 richness estimation (P ≤ 0.01) of 237.13 versus 42.14 for the uninfected and infected clone libraries, respectively. Similarly, the Shannon index of the uninfected clone library (4.46) was significantly higher than that of the infected clone library (2.61). Comparison of the uninfected clone library with the infected clone library using LIBSHUFF statistics showed a significant difference (P ≤ 0.05). Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that the bacterial community changes not only qualitatively but also quantitatively. The relative proportions of different groups of bacteria changed significantly after infection with the pathogen. These data indicate that infection of citrus by “Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus” has a profound effect on the structure and composition of the bacterial community associated with citrus roots.