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Interactions between Diaphorina citri and 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus': a systems biology perspective

Michelle Heck: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research Unit, USDA-ARS

<div>‘<em>Candidatus </em>Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas),’ a Gram negative bacterial pathogen associated with citrus greening disease, is transmitted by <em>Diaphorina citri </em>in a circulative, propagative manner. Not all individuals within a <em>D. citri </em>population can become competent to transmit CLas. CLas acquisition must occur during the nymphal stage for adults to efficiently transmit. Acquisition and transmission phenotypes are heritable, and variation in CLas acquisition and transmission is found in natural <em>D. citri </em>populations. This presentation will highlight the efforts of our multidisciplinary team to use a variety of approaches, including advanced proteomics and protein interaction technologies, insect genetics, metabolomics, cell biology and biochemistry to explore the dynamic pathogen-vector interface as a function of insect genotype, infection status, developmental stage and host plant variety. Several examples of proteomics, molecular and genetic data will be discussed to illustrate the power of these approaches, when used in combination, to further our basic understanding of <em>D. citri</em> molecular responses to CLas acquisition, infection and transmission<em>.</em> The excellent synergism of our data with previously published studies on the biology of <em>D. citri</em> and CLas will be highlighted. Finally, intriguing parallels with other vector-plant pathogen pathosystems and the use of these approaches to develop novel targeted strategies for citrus greening control will also be presented.</div>