Rear and Release of Psyllids As Biological Control Agents: a Mid-Term Solution for Huanglongbing (Hlb) Disease of Citrus
Molecular Plant Pathology
Project Number: 1245-22000-281-16
Start Date: Oct 01, 2012
End Date: Aug 31, 2017
The overall objectives of this project are: (1) to develop a genetically modified citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, that is not capable of acquiring and transmitting the pathogen that causes citrus huanglongbing disease and (2) develop a means to introduce this psyllid into Florida to replace the established population of Diaphorina citri. This project would reduce or eliminate huanglongbing as a threat to citriculture. ARS (Beltsville) has expertise to screen an existing library of antibodies against ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ and Diaphorina citri expressed in recombinant bacteriophage. The COOPERATORS have the expertise and infrastructure to use these antibodies to identify targets in the insect vector essential for acquisition of ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ by the insect as a prerequisite for the insect becoming an infectious vector of ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ leading to huanglongbing disease.
ARS (Beltsville) will screen the scFv library against proteins identified by the consortium as likely to be required for acquisition of ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ by Diaphorina citri. Targeted proteins will be selected jointly by ARS Beltsville and other members of the consortium. Selected recombinant antibodies will be provided to cooperators. Genes encoding the recombinant antibodies will also be available as needed. The Cooperator will identify candidate psyllid encoded proteins for screening and use the recombinant antibodies to test for inhibition of acquisition/transmission of the pathogen by Diaphorina citri.