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Poor shoot and leaf growth in Huanglongbing-affected sweet orange is associated with increased investment in defense

posted on 2024-06-11, 05:07 authored by NCBI
Citrus disease Huanglongbing(HLB) causes sparse canopies due to reduced leaf and shoot biomass. Herein, we present results demonstrating the possible mechanism behind compromised leaf growth of HLB-affected trees by comparing morphological, transcriptome, and phytohormone profiles at different leaf development phases (1. buds at the start of experiment; 2. buds on day 5; 3. leaf emergence; 4. leaf expansion; 5. leaf maturation) to healthy trees over three months ( in greenhouse condition). HLB-affected trees had ~40 % reduction in growth traits such as tree height, number of shoots per tree, shoot length, internodal length, and leaf size compared to healthy trees. In addition, buds from HLB-affected trees lagged by ~ one week in sprouting and leaf growth. Moreover, HLB-affected trees had fewer leaf numbers per shoot and more significant leaf drop and bud dieback than healthy trees throughout the leaf development. Throughout the leaf development, high accumulation of defense hormones, salicylic acid (SA) and abscisic acid (ABA), and low levels of growth-promoting hormone (auxin) were found in HLB-affected treescompared to healthy trees. Concomitantly, HLB-affected trees had upregulated differentially expressed genes (DEGs) encoding SA, ABA, and ethylene-related proteins compared to healthy trees. The total number of cells per leaf was lower in HLB-affected trees compared to healthy trees, which suggests reduced cell division may coincide with low levels of growth-promoting hormones, leading to small leaf size. Both bud dieback and leaf drop were higher in HLB-affected trees than in healthy trees, with concomitantupregulated DEGs encoding senescence-related proteins in HLB-affected trees that possibly resulted in accelerated aging and cell death. Taken together, it can be concluded that HLB-affected trees had a higher tradeoff of resources on defense over growth, leading to sparse canopies and a high tree mortality rate with HLB progression.


U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2018-70016-27412


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National Center for Biotechnology Information

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  • Non-geospatial

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  • biota

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sequence analysis

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  • Public

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It is recommended to cite the accession numbers that are assigned to data submissions, e.g. the GenBank, WGS or SRA accession numbers. If individual BioProjects need to be referenced, state that "The data have been deposited with links to BioProject accession number PRJNA1042812 in the NCBI BioProject database ("

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