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Identifying susceptibility genes for citrus Huanglongbing in sweet orange.

Fernanda Nogales C. Vasconcelos: University of Florida

<div>The phloem limited bacteria, <em>Candidatus</em> Liberibacter asiaticus, <em>Ca</em>. L. americanus and<em> Ca.</em> L. africanus, are the putative causal agents of citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), which is devastating citrus industry worldwide. Identifying susceptibility genes is crucial to understand its interaction with citrus host and therefore engineer tolerant and resistant plants. In this study, we will present our current progress in identification of putative susceptibility genes against HLB. To identify putative susceptibility genes, we used yeast-two-hybrid system to screen for potential host target proteins of putative virulence factors of <em>Ca</em>. L. asiaticus. We also employed gene expression essays in order to identify differentially expressed genes in HLB diseased trees, giving us insights of microbe-host interactions at molecular level. The CRISPR technology is being used to mutate putative HLB susceptibility genes to test whether they affect citrus resistance or tolerance to HLB.</div>