Wide-ranging transcriptomic analysis of Poncirus trifoliata, Citrus sunki, Citrus sinensis and contrasting hybrids reveals HLB tolerance mechanisms
AbstractHuanglongbing (HLB), caused mainly by 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (CLas), is the most devastating citrus disease because all commercial species are susceptible. HLB tolerance has been observed in Poncirus trifoliata and their hybrids. A wide-ranging transcriptomic analysis using contrasting genotypes regarding HLB severity was performed to identify the genetic mechanism associated with tolerance to HLB. The genotypes included Citrus sinensis, Citrus sunki, Poncirus trifoliata
... cirus trifoliata and three distinct groups of hybrids obtained from crosses between C. sunki and P. trifoliata. According to bacterial titer and symptomatology studies, the hybrids were clustered as susceptible, tolerant and resistant to HLB. In P. trifoliata and resistant hybrids, genes related to specific pathways were differentially expressed, in contrast to C. sinensis, C. sunki and susceptible hybrids, where several pathways were reprogrammed in response to CLas. Notably, a genetic tolerance mechanism was associated with the downregulation of gibberellin (GA) synthesis and the induction of cell wall strengthening. These defense mechanisms were triggered by a class of receptor-related genes and the induction of WRKY transcription factors. These results led us to build a hypothetical model to understand the genetic mechanisms involved in HLB tolerance that can be used as target guidance to develop citrus varieties or rootstocks with potential resistance to HLB.