Objective 1, Mthionin Constructs: Assessment of the Mthionin transgenic lines is ongoing. As the most proven of our transgenics, we continue to use them as a reference in detached leaf assays, with CLas+ ACP feeding, as well as studying them in established greenhouse and field studies. Greenhouse studies (With 9 Carrizo lines and 4 Hamlin lines, 98 total plants with controls) include graft inoculation of Carrizo rooted cuttings with CLas+ rough lemon, no-choice caged ACP inoculation of Carrizo rooted cuttings, and no-choice caged ACP inoculation of Hamlin grafted on Carrizo with all combinations of WT and transgenic. Data collection continues from Mthionin field plantings. Results from the first round of field plantings (45 plants) of Mthionin transgenic Carrizo root-stock grafted with non-transgenic rough lemon show transgenics maintaining higher average CLas CT values (2.5 CT higher @ 18 months), but with a high degree of variability. A large second planting of Mthionin transgenics went into the ground in April 2019, including transgenic Carrizo with WT Hamlin scions (81 plants), transgenic Hamlin on non-transgenic Carrizo root-stock (108 plants) and WT/WT controls (16 plants). Scheduled assessments for both field plantings is being prioritized under current covid-19 pandemic conditions. The 24 month assessment of the first planting has been completed and 12 month assessment for the second planting is underway. Additional grafts of WT Hamlin and Ray Ruby scions to Mthionin root-stock have been made and are included in the imminent chimera planting discussed in Objective 2. The Mthionin construct has also been extensively transformed into Valencia, Ray Ruby and US-942 to provide transgenic material of these critical varieties. The first 51 putative lines are now in soil and are undergoing expression analysis. Objective 2, Citrus Chimera Constructs: Detached leaf assays, with CLas+ ACP feeding, have been conducted and repeated for lines expressing chimera constructs TPK, PKT, CT-CII, scFv-InvA, scFv-TolC, TBL, BLT, LBP/’74’, `73′, and `188′ using adjusted protocols to improve sensitivity and transmission rates (See section 4). Further detached leaf assays are being run to compare the relative effectiveness between each generation of chimera constructs and to expand the number of lines tested from each. DLA testing has allowed us to identify lines from several constructs with significant effects on CLas transmission and even increased ACP mortality. Recent results include up to 95% mortality in ACP after 7 days feeding on detached leaves of the 3rd generation TBL transgenics and 70% for TPK. Lines from promising constructs have been moved forward into greenhouse studies based on DLA results, as noted below. Initial ACP inoculations conducted on 8 lines of citrus Thionin-lipid binding protein chimeras (`73′, and ’74’) showed a statistically significant reduction (13x) in CLas titer for `74′ transgenics vs WT in the CLas+ plants. However, many plants remained CLas negative at 6 months post infestation, indicating a low inoculation efficiency. All greenhouse experiments are now using an improved protocol to enhance inoculation. Through a combination of selecting smaller plants, more aggressively trimming larger plants and close observation, we have been able to extend the caged ACP infestation time from 7 days to 21 without severe mold or cage damage to the plants. In June, 150 plants representing the best performing 7 lines of `188′ and 6 lines of `74′ were no-choice caged ACP inoculated using the new protocol. At 3 months, control plants tested positive at twice the rate of the earlier inoculation; 6 month tissue samples are now collected and processed, awaiting qPCR analysis. We are beginning a large greenhouse study to directly compare the best performing 3rd generation chimera (TPK and TBL) with the earlier 1st (Mthionin) and 2nd (`74′ and `188′) lines. All lines are being grafted onto WT Carrizo root-stock for uniformity. A total of 420 grafts (150 completed, 270 under way) will be bud inoculated with CLas+ RL and analyzed for resistant phenotypes. We are also emphasizing parallel field trials for all phenotyping efforts. A field planting of ~400 `74′, `188′ and Mthionin transgenics is underway. 165 grafted plants (WT Hamlin and Ray Ruby on transgenic Carrizo) are made and ready for the field. The ground is being prepared and plantings will begin as soon as conditions allow. 185 grafts of WT scions (Hamlin, Valencia, and Ray Ruby) onto transgenic Carrizo root stocks. 200 more additional grafts of `74′ and `188′ transgenic Hamlin on WT root-stocks are being made to complete the planting. Fifteen new transformations, totaling over 5000 explants, have been completed to generate Valencia, Ray Ruby, US-942, and Hamlin (when not already complete) lines expressing `74′, `188′, TBL, TPK and other advanced chimera constructs. Over 200 new putative transgenic lines including 74-Valencia, 74-Ray Ruby, 74-US-942, 74-Hamlin, 188-Ray Ruby, 188-Valencia, 188-US-942, TBL-US-942, TBL-Hamlin, and TPK-Hamlin are now in soil and undergoing expression analysis. Objective 3, ScFv Constructs: Greenhouse studies on the 5 scFv lines in the 1st round of ACP-inoculation has been completed with the best performing lines showing significantly reduced CLas titer over the 12 month period (up to 250x reduction) and a much higher incidence of no CLas rDNA amplification in all tissue types. The best Carrizo lines have been grafted with WT Ray Ruby scions and, with all appropriate permitting now completed and the plants sized up, will be moved to the field after hurricane season. An additional 129 rooted cuttings are propagated for follow up plantings with a Hamlin scion. The 3 month data from the 150 plants from the 2nd group of scFv lines (12 lines) that were initially no-choice ACP inoculated showed an insufficient infection rate. These plants have now been bud inoculated with HLB+ RL. An additional 370 rooted cuttings were propagated for the third round of ACP-inoculations. From which, the first group of 54 plants large enough to use have been inoculated with the higher pressure 21 day protocol. Tissue for testing CLas titer from both sets of plants has been collected and processed; now awaiting qPCR analysis. Objective 4, Screening Development and Validation: A protocol using a high throughput ACP homogenate assay for selecting lytic peptides for activity against CLas is now in use. A manuscript on the protocol has been published in Plant Methods (DOI: 10.1186/s13007-019-0465-1) to make it available to the HLB research community. The detached leaf ACP-feeding assay has undergone several small revisions to improve sensitivity and maintain consistent inoculation; increasing from 10 to 20 ACP per leaf, decreasing the feeding period (7 days to 3) and adding a 4 day incubation period between feeding and tissue collection. An array of phloem specific citrus genes has been selected for investigation as potential reference genes to improve detached tissue and plant sampling techniques. Multiple sets of sequence specific qPCR primers for each gene have been synthesized and tested for efficiency. Six varieties of citrus have been propagated for endogene stability testing. A phloem specific endogene would allow normalizing to phloem cells, more accurately evaluating CLas titer and potential therapeutic effects. The best performing lines of Mthionin, chimeras `74′ and `188′ and scFv transgenics have been submitted to Florida Department of Plant Industry for shoot-tip graft cleanup in preparation for future field studies. Hamlin/Mthionin transgenics (3 lines) and Carrizo/Mthionin (2 lines) have been returned certified clean. Objective 5, Transgene Characterization: Transgenic Carrizo lines expressing His6 tagged variants of chimeric proteins TBL (15 lines), BLT (15 lines), TPK (17 lines), and PKT (20 lines) and His6/Flag tagged variants of scFv-InvA (22 lines) and scFv-TolC (18 lines) constructs have been generated and confirmed for transgene expression by RT-qPCR. Total protein samples have been extracted from His-tagged transgenic lines and sent to our CRADA partner for testing. Experiments are underway using these plants to track the movement and distribution of transgene products in parallel to direct antibody based approaches.