By Jennifer Brees, Biological Sciences
Advisor: Joshua Benoit
Abstract: The Asian Citris Psyllid (Diaphornia citri) is one of two confirmed vectors of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticusü which causes citrus greening disease. Citrus greening disease causes billions of dollars of damage to the citrus agricultural industry, and is found in dozens of countries, including the United States. Accurate genomic sequencing may be used for vector control, to reduce the spread of C. L. asiaticus worldwide. The psyllid cuticle consists of chitin filaments enmeshed in a proteinaceous matrix and changes in the cuticle are associated with pesticide resistance. Cuticle proteins are organized into twelve families based upon features and common motifs, and the goal of this project was to characterize the cuticle proteins of D. citri. We examined genomic sequence data and predicted genes of the Asian citrus psyllid and identified sequence motifs associated with several families of cuticle proteins. Identified putative cuticle proteins were examined, assigned to specific cuticle proteins families, and expression assessed using previous RNSA-seq studies. With these studies, our goal to identify cuticle proteins associated with pesticide resistance and other physiological aspects for this pest.