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Citrus Vascular Proteomics Highlights the Role of Peroxidases and Serine Proteases during Huanglongbing Disease Progression


Huanglongbing (HLB) is the most devastating and widespread citrus disease. All commercial citrus varieties are susceptible to the HLB-associated bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), which resides in the phloem. The phloem is part of the plant vascular system and is involved in sugar transport. To investigate the plant response to CLas, we enriched for proteins surrounding the phloem in an HLB susceptible sweet orange variety, Washington navel (Citrus sinensis (L) Osbeck). Quantitative proteomics revealed global changes in the citrus proteome after CLas inoculation. Plant metabolism and translation were suppressed, whereas defense-related proteins such as peroxidases, proteases and protease inhibitors were induced in the vasculature. Transcript accumulation and enzymatic activity of plant peroxidases in CLas infected sweet orange varieties under greenhouse and field conditions were assessed. Although peroxidase transcript accumulation was induced in CLas infected sweet orange varieties, peroxidase enzymatic activity varied. Specific serine proteases were up-regulated in Washington navel in the presence of CLas based on quantitative proteomics. Subsequent activity-based protein profiling revealed increased activity of two serine proteases, and reduced activity of one protease in two C. sinensis sweet orange varieties under greenhouse and field conditions. The observations in the current study highlight global reprogramming of the citrus vascular proteome and differential regulation of enzyme classes in response to CLas infection. These results open an avenue for further investigation of diverse responses to HLB across different environmental conditions and citrus genotypes.

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