A pathogen secreted protein as a detection marker for citrus huanglongbing

Deborah Pagliaccia, Jinxia Shi, Zhiqian Pang, Eva Hawara, Kelley Clark, Shree P. Thapa, Agustina De Francesco, Jianfeng Liu, Thien Toan Tran, Sohrab Bodaghi, Svetlana Y. Folimonova, Veronica Ancona, Ashok Mulchandani, Gitta Coaker, Nian Wang, Georgios Vidalakis, Wenbo Ma

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The citrus industry is facing an unprecedented crisis due to Huanglongbing (HLB, aka citrus greening disease), a bacterial disease associated with the pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that affects all commercial varieties. Transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), CLas colonizes citrus phloem, leading to reduced yield and fruit quality, and eventually tree decline and death. Since adequate curative measures are not available, a key step in HLB management is to restrict the spread of the disease by identifying infected trees and removing them in a timely manner. However, uneven distribution of CLas cells in infected trees and the long latency for disease symptom development makes sampling of trees for CLas detection challenging. Here, we report that a CLas secreted protein can be used as a biomarker for detecting HLB infected citrus. Proteins secreted from CLas cells can presumably move along the phloem, beyond the site of ACP inoculation and CLas colonized plant cells, thereby increasing the chance of detecting infected trees. We generated a polyclonal antibody that effectively binds to the secreted protein and developed serological assays that can successfully detect CLas infection. This work demonstrates that antibody-based diagnosis using a CLas secreted protein as the detection marker for infected trees offers a high-throughput and economic approach that complements the approved quantitative polymerase chain reaction-based methods to enhance HLB management programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2041
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2017


  • Antibody-based detection
  • Bacterial secreted proteins
  • Citrus greening disease
  • Disease diagnosis
  • Effectors
  • HLB

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