"Microbial Ecology of the Asian Citrus Psyllid: Interactions and Applications"
My research focuses on the microbial ecology of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, which transmits the pathogen associated with Citrus greening disease, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The emphasis of this seminar will be on several areas of recent research: understanding the nature of endosymbiont interactions with the Asian citrus psyllid; defining the D. citri immune system and its potential for endosymbiont manipulation; and investigating novel methods of endosymbiont manipulation for D. citri management.
Insecticidal application and replanting infected trees are currently the most effective management strategies for citrus greening disease in Florida; however, these options are not economically sustainable and may not be sufficient to protect young trees from infection. I will discuss antibiotic and gene silencing strategies to target Las and D. citri symbionts. Data presented will demonstrate that oligonucleotide molecules can be delivered specifically to target bacteria based on gene sequence, avoiding the problems of effecting non-target bacteria. Finally, I will discuss ongoing work to develop D. citri populations with reduced transmission capacity through the introduction of phenotype-altering transgenes using endosymbionts as vehicles for paratransgenic gene expression.
Monday, March 11, 2019 at 4:10pm to 5:00pm
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