Metabolic alterations in the nymphal instars of Diaphorina citri induced by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the putative pathogen of huanglongbing

Text - scientific article/review article


Currently, huanglongbing is the most damaging disease of citrus causing huge economic losses. The disease is caused by the Gram- negative bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). The pathogen is transmitted in a persistent propagative circulative manner within its vector, the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri. Exploring the metabolic alteration in the vector may lead to a better understanding of the nutritional needs of CLas and to designing an artificial medium for culturing the pathogen. It has been shown that the nymphal stages have a greater role in transmission mainly because they feed on plants more actively than adults. In this study, we carried out an untargeted comparative metabolomic analysis for healthy and CLas-infected 4th / 5th instar nymphs. The metabolic analysis was performed using trimethylsilylation and methyl chloroformate derivatization followed by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). Overall, the changes in the nymph metabolism due to the infection with CLas were more pronounced than in adults, as we previously published. Nymphs reared on CLas-infected Valencia sweet orange were higher in many metabolites, mainly those of the TCA cycle, C16 and C18 fatty acids, glucose, sucrose, L-proline, L-serine, pyroglutamic acid, saccharic acid, threonic acid and myo-inositol than those reared on healthy plants. In contrast, CLas-infected nymphs were lower in putrescine, glycine, L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, L-valine, and chiro-inositol. The information provided from this study may contribute in acceleration of the availability of CLas in culture and consequent screening of antibacterial compounds to discover a definitive solution for huanglongbing.


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NIFA-USDA [2016-70016-24824]


  • 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus'
  • Diaphorina citri
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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