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Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana as model plants for functional study of genes associated with resistance to citrus variegated chlorosis

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Willian Eduardo Lino Pereira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Biologia
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Michel Georges Albert Vincentz; Luis Eduardo Aranha Camargo
Advisor: Alessandra Alves de Souza

The Brazilian citrus agribusiness is a very important commodity; nevertheless Brazilian citrus productivity is low, mainly due to pests and diseases that affect the culture. The Citrus Variegated Chlorosis (CVC), caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa is one of the most important diseases, since it affects all varieties of sweet oranges. Citrus breeding programs could be used to solve this problem however the breeding is a challenging due to the very low genetic variability and the breakthrough of pests and diseases. An alternative to accelerate the obtaining of resistant plants to diseases could be through of transgenic plants. The selection of candidate genes in citrus would be an excellent strategy, if there were not difficulties in genetic transformation. The solution to accelerate the knowledge of gene to confer pathogen resistance is the use of alternative hosts such as the Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana. Both hosts have great genetic information, simple protocol of transformation and short life cycle. Due to the prior identification by transcriptome of genes possibly associated with resistance of C. reticulata to X. fastidiosa become necessary to study the function of these genes. Thus, the goal of this study was to use model plants (Arabidopsis and tobacco) for functional study of potential genes to confer X. fastidiosa resistance and use them in C. sinensis in a transgenic approach. Our results indicated that Arabidopsis is moderately resistant to infection by X. fastidiosa, since bacteria cannot colonize it efficiently. Using mutant plants to the candidate genes RPS5, RAP2.2, MOA2.2, PseudoNBS, ERF73, RD22 and ATJ2 (homologous to the differentially expressed in C. reticulata under infection) it was found that RPS5 and RAP2.2 are probably involved in resistance to this bacterium, since the mutants were more susceptible to X. fastidiosa, therefore they are good candidates for overexpression in C. sinensis aiming CVC resistance. The RPS5 gene encodes a protein of the CC-NBS-LRR type commonly responsible for the recognition of molecules of pathogens and triggering signaling pathways, while RAP2.2 gene encodes a transcription factor related to the signaling pathway mediated by ethylene, triggering responses against infection. Regarding tobacco we study the colonization of bacteria to establish a quantitative bioassay. In this sense, was developed and validated a diagrammatic scale for accurate measurement of disease severity in the leaves. A correlation between levels of severity and bacterial population, allowing estimation of the bacterial population in plant from the analysis of severity, was also established. A faster bioassay was established for evaluation of soyBiPD gene, candidate to confer resistance to X. fastidiosa. However, our results demonstrate that this gene does not confer resistance in the plant model, and therefore would not be used to transform C. sinensis. In a short time, eight candidate genes were evaluated and two of them showed promising results (RPS5 and RAP2.2). These results demonstrate the importance of model plants in accelerate the knowledge of candidate genes and consequent the reduction of costs, labor and time to obtain responses about the potentiality of genes to confer pathogen resistance (AU)