A Platform Non-GMO Technology for the Bacterial Diseases in Plants of Economic Importance
Recently a publication, title: “Host-derived chimeric peptides clear the causative bacteria and augment host innate immunity during infection: A case study of HLB in citrus and fire blight in apple ”, appeared in the journal of Frontiers in Plant Science.
This work was a collaborative effort among the New Mexico Consortium (NMC), Texas A&M University, Burke Orchard, Las Cruces, NM, and the new company Diverse Vitality LLC, formed by NMC scientist Goutam Gupta.
Treatment of HLB in citrus and Fire Blight in apples involved the use of plant derived and non-toxic α/β peptides that are delivered via a non-GMO route. The α/β peptides directly target and kill the causative bacteria. Subsequently, the NMC and Diverse Vitality in collaboration with the Colorado State University and Groth Vineyards & Winery completed field studies to show that the α/β peptides are also effective in the treatment of Pierce’s Disease in grapes.
Currently, the NMC and Diverse Vitality LLC are in the process of obtaining the EPA regulatory approval for marketing the α/β peptides for HLB, PD, and Fire Blight treatment.
Citrus, grapes, and apples generate a lot of revenues both from fresh fruit and processed products, which are threatened by incurable HLB, PD, and Fire Blight. The publication shows the possibility of non-GMO, non-toxic, and effective treatment of HLB in citrus, PD in grapes, and Fire Blight in apples through the clearance of the causative bacteria. Most importantly, as shown in the Figure below, not only do the α/β peptides clear the causative bacteria but also enhance plant immune defense during infection.
Figure legend: The α/β peptides are designed to lyse and clear the causative gram-negative bacteria. While the pathogenic bacteria tend to mount resistance against plant immune defense, the α/β peptides counter the bacterial resistance by enhancing plant immune defense during infection. This leads to activation of immune signaling PTI/ETI/SA/JA/ET pathways and the production of pathogenesis related (PR) proteins that clear the pathogens and block pathogenesis. PAMP= pathogen associated molecular pattern; PTI= PAMP triggered immunity; ETI= effector triggered immunity; JA= jasmonic acid; SA= salicylic acids; ET= ethanol; PRR= patter recognition receptors; NLR= cytosolic nod-like receptors. The membrane architecture of the gram-negative bacteria is shown highlighted by the conserved lipopolysaccharides and outer membrane porin (OMP).