Citrus canker is a plant disease that affects all the commercially important citrus varieties all over the world. It is caused by the Gram-negative bacteria Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (X. citri). Infection generates corky-like lesions in the aerial parts of the plant, which n severe cases may lead to drop in production, and quality of the fruits. Symptomatic fruits may yet be used by the juice industry; however, they have no use for table market. Citrus canker has no cure, and eradication of infected plants continues to be the best measure to control the spread of the bacteria. Knowledge about the biology of the etiological agent is therefore a good way to devise strategies of disease spread and control. Our group has long dedicated efforts to understand the cell division process of X. citri. Perturbation of cell division is an excellent strategy to inhibit bacterial growth and infection. We have developed compounds that target the main protein constituent of the divisional septa, and that can be used as alternatives to copper formulations that are the only bactericides applied in the field to restrict X. citri infection. Here, we intend to study a novel polypeptide encoded by a hypothetical ORF, 3407, which apparently is involved with cell division. This ORF was identified in protein-protein analyses in which we used as bait X. citri ZapA, a well-known cell division/FtsZ-stabilizer factor. In case 3407 is confirmed as part of the divisome, it may be a novel target for the development of antimicrobials.
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