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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Crop Improvement and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #439298

Research Project: Therapeutic Molecule Evaluation and Field Delivery Pipeline for Solutions to HLB, Albany, California

Location: Crop Improvement and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2030-21220-003-004-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

The project will be divided into six overall objectives: 1) Identification and production of therapeutic molecules to protect trees from HLB. This includes identification of antimicrobial peptides, nanobodies and RNAi that may combat HLB. 2) Implementation of a flexible and customizable bench-to-field screening pipeline for molecule evaluation, including broad community access to the pipeline. Develop seedling screen and establish facilities/flow chart to run samples through pipeline. 3) Data collection to support regulatory approval. 4) Economic analysis of delivery strategies for field deployment. 5) Perform basic research to optimize delivery of molecules to citrus. This will include transgenic citrus production and transplanted citrus tissue production. Both methods will be use to evaluate best peptides, etc from objective 1. 6) Outreach.

The ARS laboratory in Albany, California, will be involved in objective 5. To evaluate this process citrus tissue culture will be established in the lab. Once established tissue exists it will be transformed with the various antimicrobial peptides, nanobodies and RNAi that may combat HLB (Objective 1). In conjunction tissue (from the established tissue culture) will be studies for its ability to transplan back to the mother plant. When this process is established other citrus cultivars will be examined for transplantation establishment. Citrus with an established transplantation protocol will receive the transgenic tissue (from culture) expressing the various methods antimicrobial peptides, nanobodies or RNAi for combating HLB. Once grafted tissue has been established on the host tree it will be examined for protein production and eventually challenged for HLB resistance.