Proteomic analysis of the Mexican lime tree response to "Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia" infection
"Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia" is the causative agent of witches' broom disease in the Mexican lime tree (Citrus aurantifolia L.), and is responsible for major tree losses in Southern Iran and Oman. The pathogen is strictly biotrophic, and, therefore, completely dependent on living host cells for its survival. The molecular basis of compatibility and disease development in this system is poorly understood. We applied a proteomics approach to analyse gene expression in Mexican limes infected with "Ca. Phytoplasma aurantifolia". Leaf samples were collected from healthy and infected plants and were analysed using 2-DE coupled with MS. Among 800 leaf proteins that were detected reproducibly in eight biological replicates of healthy and eight biological replicates of infected plants, 55 showed a significant response to the disease. MS resulted in identification of 39 regulated proteins, which included proteins that were involved in oxidative stress defence, photosynthesis, metabolism, and the stress response. Our results provide the first proteomic view of the molecular basis of the infection process and identify genes that could help inhibit the effects of the pathogen.
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