Sec-delivered effector 1 (SDE1) of 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' promotes citrus huanglongbing

Kelley J. Clark, Zhiqian Pang, Jessica Trinh, Nian Wang, Wenbo Ma

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Sec-delivered effector 1 (SDE1) from the huanglongbing (HLB)-associated bacterium 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' was previously characterized as an inhibitor of defenserelated, papain-like cysteine proteases in vitro and in planta. Here, we investigated the contributions of SDE1 to HLB progression. We found that SDE1 expression in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana caused severe yellowing in mature leaves, reminiscent of both 'Ca. L. asiaticus' infection symptoms and accelerated leaf senescence. Induction of senescence signatures was also observed in the SDE1-expressing A. thaliana lines. These signatures were apparent in older leaves but not in seedlings, suggesting an age-associated effect. Furthermore, independent lines of transgenic Citrus paradisi (L.) Macfadyen (Duncan grapefruit) that express SDE1 exhibited hypersusceptibility to 'Ca. L. asiaticus'. Similar to A. thaliana, transgenic citrus expressing SDE1 showed altered expression of senescence-associated genes, but only after infection with 'Ca. L. asiaticus'. These findings suggest that SDE1 is a virulence factor that contributes to HLB progression, likely by inducing premature or accelerated senescence in citrus. This work provides new insight into HLB pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1394-1404
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Citrus greening
  • HLB
  • Pathogen effectors
  • Senescence

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