Control citrus HLB by blocking the functions of two critical effectors encoded by 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus'
Subtropical Plant Pathology Research
Project Number: 6618-22000-039-42
Start Date: May 01, 2013
End Date: Apr 30, 2014
As an intracellular plant pathogen, 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (Las) lacks type III and IV secretion systems and their related effectors. However, we have recently demonstrated that Las encodes two novel autotransporters that target host mitochondria. We hypothesize that these autotransporters modulate the host's energy biosynthesis and/or defense response for their own survival and multiplication. By blocking the functions of these two important effectors using inhibitory molecules, we expect to disable Las bacterial growth in planta.
We will characterize the molecular interactions between the effectors and the host mitochondrial proteins. Then we will screen for molecules that inhibit the effector functions. These will be tested initially in the greenhouse and then under field conditions. Successful candidates will be developed to control HLB.