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Citrus CsACD2 Is a Target of Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus in Huanglongbing Disease


Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las), is one of the most destructive citrus diseases worldwide, yet how Las causes HLB is poorly understood. Here we show that a Las-secreted protein, SDE15 (CLIBASIA_04025), suppresses plant immunity and promotes Las multiplication. Transgenic expression of SDE15 in Duncan grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) suppresses the hypersensitive response induced by Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri (Xcc) and reduces the expression of immunity-related genes. SDE15 also suppresses the hypersensitive response triggered by the Xanthomonas vesicatoria effector protein AvrBsT in Nicotiana benthamiana, suggesting that it may be a broad-spectrum suppressor of plant immunity. SDE15 interacts with the citrus protein CsACD2, a homolog of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) ACCELERATED CELL DEATH 2 (ACD2). SDE15 suppression of plant immunity is dependent on CsACD2, and overexpression of CsACD2 in citrus suppresses plant immunity and promotes Las multiplication, phenocopying overexpression of SDE15. Identification of CsACD2 as a susceptibility target has implications in genome editing for novel plant resistance against devastating HLB.

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