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A study of plant-bacteria-vector network interactions of HLB Citrus disease through an Immuno-Ultrastructural and Subcellular Localization technologies

Grant number: 21/13093-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator:Andrea Soares da Costa Fuentes
Grantee:Sâmara Vieira Rocha
Supervisor: Amit Levy
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Florida, Gainesville (UF), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:18/20823-5 - Transient expression of a citrus cystatin using the CTV (Citrus Tristeza Virus) vector aiming Diaphorina citri resistance, insect vector of Huanglongbing disease (HLB), BP.DD


The cultivation of Citrus is of great importance to the world economy. Relevant Citrus producers are found in Brazil and in the United States, with production mainly concentrated in the "Citrus belt" and in the state of Florida, respectively. Both contribute significantly to the world economy, however, significant productivity losses are linked to several diseases that affect the citrus genus. Among these diseases, there is Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus "greening", considered the most serious disease that affects the genus, until now without effective control. The agents associated to HLB, Candidatus Liberibacter spp. and the vector Diaphorina citri is significantly disseminated throughout citrus regions, causing losses for citriculture worldwide. Defining protein complex networks are essentials in the improvement of understanding of biological processes. Thus, studying the HLB vector-bacteria interaction with the host plant can bring important elucidation about HLB, as well as the determination of specific targets for the management of the disease. Thus, this work aims to understand the relationship between D. citri and CLas, and proteins involved in the bacteria associated with the HLB transmission process by the insect D. citri, focusing DCcathL and DCcathB proteins, important enzymes in insect development and investigate the influence of the host in this process of disease transmission. The development of specific inhibitors capable of interfering with bacterial-vector-plant host interactions indicates a promising strategy to slow the spread of HLB disease. Hence, this project employs methods to obtain a greater elucidation for HLB dissemination and the biological processes involved in the plant-bacteria-vector interaction, enabling suitable management for the most serious Citrus disease. (AU)

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