Foliar fungal endophyte communities are structured by environment but not host ecotype in Panicum virgatum (switchgrass).
ABSTRACT: Experimental tests of community assembly mechanisms for host-associated microbiomes in nature are lacking. Asymptomatic foliar fungal endophytes are a major component of the plant microbiome and are increasingly recognized for their impacts on plant performance, including pathogen defense, hormonal manipulation, and drought tolerance. However, it remains unclear whether fungal endophytes preferentially colonize certain host ecotypes or genotypes, reflecting some degree of biotic adaptation in the symbioses, or whether colonization is simply a function of spore type and abundance within the local environment. Whether host ecotype, local environment, or some combination of both controls the pattern of microbiome formation across hosts represents a new dimension to the age-old debate of nature versus nurture. Here, we used a reciprocal transplant design to explore the extent of host specificity and biotic adaptation in the plant microbiome, as evidenced by differential colonization of host genetic types by endophytes. Specifically, replicate plants from three locally-adapted ecotypes of the native grass Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) were transplanted at three geographically distinct field sites (one home and two away) in the Midwestern US. At the end of the growing season, plant leaves were harvested and the fungal microbiome characterized using culture-dependent sequencing techniques. Our results demonstrated that fungal endophyte community structure was determined by local environment (i.e., site), but not by host ecotype. Fungal richness and diversity also strongly differed by site, with lower fungal diversity at a riparian field site, whereas host ecotype had no effect. By contrast, there were significant differences in plant phenotypes across all ecotypes and sites, indicating ecotypic differentiation of host phenotype. Overall, our results indicate that environmental factors are the primary drivers of community structure in the switchgrass fungal microbiome.
Project description:Elytrigia atherica is a native invasive plant species whose expansion on salt marshes is attributed to genotypic and phenotypic adaptations to non-ideal environmental conditions, forming two ecotypes. It is unknown how E. atherica-microbiome interactions are contributing to its adaptation. Here we investigated the effect of sea-water flooding frequency and associated soil (a)biotic conditions on plant traits and root-associated microbial community composition and potential functions of two E. atherica ecotypes. We observed higher endomycorrhizal colonization in high-elevation ecotypes (HE, low inundation frequency), whereas low-elevation ecotypes (LE, high inundation frequency) had higher specific leaf area. Similarly, rhizosphere and endosphere bacterial communities grouped according to ecotypes. Soil ammonium content and elevation explained rhizosphere bacterial composition. Around 60% the endosphere amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were also found in soil and around 30% of the ASVs were ecotype-specific. The endosphere of HE-ecotype harbored more unique sequences than the LE-ecotype, the latter being abundant in halophylic bacterial species. The composition of the endosphere may explain salinity and drought tolerance in relation to the local environmental needs of each ecotype. Overall, these results suggest that E. atherica is flexible in its association with soil bacteria and ecotype-specific dissimilar, which may enhance its competitive strength in salt marshes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plants can adapt to edaphic stress, such as nutrient deficiency, toxicity and biotic challenges, by controlled transcriptomic responses, including microbiome interactions. Traditionally studied in model plant species with controlled microbiota inoculation treatments, molecular plant-microbiome interactions can be functionally investigated via RNA-Seq. Complex, natural plant-microbiome studies are limited, typically focusing on microbial rRNA and omitting functional microbiome investigations, presenting a fundamental knowledge gap. Here, root and shoot meta-transcriptome analyses, in tandem with shoot elemental content and root staining, were employed to investigate transcriptome responses in the wild grass Holcus lanatus and its associated natural multi-species eukaryotic microbiome. A full factorial reciprocal soil transplant experiment was employed, using plant ecotypes from two widely contrasting natural habitats, acid bog and limestone quarry soil, to investigate naturally occurring, and ecologically meaningful, edaphically driven molecular plant-microbiome interactions. RESULTS:Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and non-AM fungal colonization was detected in roots in both soils. Staining showed greater levels of non-AM fungi, and transcriptomics indicated a predominance of Ascomycota-annotated genes. Roots in acid bog soil were dominated by Phialocephala-annotated transcripts, a putative growth-promoting endophyte, potentially involved in N nutrition and ion homeostasis. Limestone roots in acid bog soil had greater expression of other Ascomycete genera and Oomycetes and lower expression of Phialocephala-annotated transcripts compared to acid ecotype roots, which corresponded with reduced induction of pathogen defense processes, particularly lignin biosynthesis in limestone ecotypes. Ascomycota dominated in shoots and limestone soil roots, but Phialocephala-annotated transcripts were insignificant, and no single Ascomycete genus dominated. Fusarium-annotated transcripts were the most common genus in shoots, with Colletotrichum and Rhizophagus (AM fungi) most numerous in limestone soil roots. The latter coincided with upregulation of plant genes involved in AM symbiosis initiation and AM-based P acquisition in an environment where P availability is low. CONCLUSIONS:Meta-transcriptome analyses provided novel insights into H. lanatus transcriptome responses, associated eukaryotic microbiota functions and taxonomic community composition. Significant edaphic and plant ecotype effects were identified, demonstrating that meta-transcriptome-based functional analysis is a powerful tool for the study of natural plant-microbiome interactions.
Project description:Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a promising biofuel crop native to the United States with genotypes that are adapted to a wide range of distinct ecosystems. Various plants have been shown to undergo symbioses with plant growth-promoting bacteria and fungi, however, plant-associated microbial communities of switchgrass have not been extensively studied to date. We present 16S ribosomal RNA gene and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) data of rhizosphere and root endosphere compartments of four switchgrass genotypes to test the hypothesis that host selection of its root microbiota prevails after transfer to non-native soil. We show that differences in bacterial, archaeal and fungal community composition and diversity are strongly driven by plant compartment and switchgrass genotypes and ecotypes. Plant-associated microbiota show an enrichment in Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria as well as Sordariales and Pleosporales compared with the surrounding soil. Root associated compartments display low-complexity communities dominated and enriched in Actinobacteria, in particular Streptomyces, in the lowland genotypes, and in Alphaproteobacteria, specifically Sphingobium, in the upland genotypes. Our comprehensive root analysis serves as a snapshot of host-specific bacterial and fungal associations of switchgrass in the field and confirms that host-selected microbiomes persist after transfer to non-native soil.
Project description:Panicum represents a large genus of many North American prairie grass species. These include switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a biofuel crop candidate with wide geographic range, as well as Panicum hallii, a close relative to switchgrass, which serves as a model system for the study of Panicum genetics due to its diploid genome and short growth cycles. For the advancement of switchgrass as a biofuel crop, it is essential to understand host microbiome interactions, which can be impacted by plant genetics and environmental factors inducing ecotype-specific phenotypic traits. We here compared rhizosphere and root endosphere bacterial communities of upland and lowland P. virgatum and P. hallii genotypes planted at two sites in Texas. Our analysis shows that sampling site predominantly contributed to bacterial community variance in the rhizosphere, however, impacted root endosphere bacterial communities much less. Instead we observed a relatively large core endophytic microbiome dominated by ubiquitously root-colonizing bacterial genera Streptomyces, Pseudomonas, and Bradyrhizobium. Endosphere communities displayed comparable diversity and conserved community structures across genotypes of both Panicum species. Functional insights into interactions between P. hallii and its root endophyte microbiome could hence inform testable hypotheses that are relevant for the improvement of switchgrass as a biofuel crop.
Project description:The evolution of locally adapted ecotypes is a common phenomenon that generates diversity within plant species. However, we know surprisingly little about the genetic mechanisms underlying the locally adapted traits involved in ecotype formation. The genetic architecture underlying locally adapted traits dictates how an organism will respond to environmental selection pressures, and has major implications for evolutionary ecology, conservation, and crop breeding. To understand the genetic architecture underlying the divergence of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) ecotypes, we constructed a genetic mapping population through a four-way outbred cross between two northern upland and two southern lowland accessions. Trait segregation in this mapping population was largely consistent with multiple independent loci controlling the suite of traits that characterizes ecotype divergence. We assembled a joint linkage map using ddRADseq, and mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) for traits that are divergent between ecotypes, including flowering time, plant size, physiological processes, and disease resistance. Overall, we found that most QTL had small to intermediate effects. While we identified colocalizing QTL for multiple traits, we did not find any large-effect QTL that clearly controlled multiple traits through pleiotropy or tight physical linkage. These results indicate that ecologically important traits in switchgrass have a complex genetic basis, and that similar loci may underlie divergence across the geographic range of the ecotypes.
Project description:Identifying suitable genetic stock for restoration often employs a 'best guess' approach. Without adaptive variation studies, restoration may be misguided. We test the extent to which climate in central US grasslands exerts selection pressure on a foundation grass big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), widely used in restorations, and resulting in local adaptation. We seeded three regional ecotypes of A. gerardii in reciprocal transplant garden communities across 1150 km precipitation gradient. We measured ecological responses over several timescales (instantaneous gas exchange, medium-term chlorophyll absorbance, and long-term responses of establishment and cover) in response to climate and biotic factors and tested if ecotypes could expand range. The ecotype from the driest region exhibited greatest cover under low rainfall, suggesting local adaptation under abiotic stress. Unexpectedly, no evidence for cover differences between ecotypes exists at mesic sites where establishment and cover of all ecotypes were low, perhaps due to strong biotic pressures. Expression of adaptive differences is strongly environment specific. Given observed adaptive variation, the most conservative restoration strategy would be to plant the local ecotype, especially in drier locations. With superior performance of the most xeric ecotype under dry conditions and predicted drought, this ecotype may migrate eastward, naturally or with assistance in restorations.
Project description:Paullinia cupana is associated with a diverse community of pathogenic and endophytic microorganisms. We isolated and identified endophytic fungal communities from the roots and seeds of P. cupana genotypes susceptible and tolerant to anthracnose that grow in two sites of the Brazilian Amazonia forest. We assessed the antibacterial, antitumor and genotoxic activity in vitro of compounds isolated from the strains Trichoderma asperellum (1BDA) and Diaporthe phaseolorum (8S). In concert, we identified eight fungal species not previously reported as endophytes; some fungal species capable of inhibiting pathogen growth; and the production of antibiotics and compounds with bacteriostatic activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in both susceptible and multiresistant host strains. The plant genotype, geographic location and specially the organ influenced the composition of P. cupana endophytic fungal community. Together, our findings identify important functional roles of endophytic species found within the microbiome of P. cupana. This hypothesis requires experimental validation to propose management of this microbiome with the objective of promoting plant growth and protection.
Project description:Diverse fungal endophytes live in plants and are shaped by some abiotic and biotic stresses. Plant disease as particular biotic stress possibly gives an impact on the communities of fungal endophytes. In this study, clubroot disease caused by an obligate biotroph protist, Plasmodiophora brassicae, was considered to analyze its influence on the fungal endophyte community using an internal transcribed spacer (ITS) through high-throughput sequencing and culture-dependent methods. The results showed that the diversity of the endophyte community in the healthy roots was much higher than the clubroots. Ascomycota was the dominant group of endophytes (Phoma, Mortierella, Penicillium, etc.) in the healthy roots while P. brassicae was the dominant taxon in the clubroots. Hierarchical clustering, principal component analysis (PCA), principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) and analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) indicated significant differences between the endophyte communities in the healthy roots and clubroots. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LefSe) analysis showed that the dominant genera could be regarded as potential biomarkers. The endophyte community in the healthy roots had a more complex network compared with the clubroots. Also, many plant pathogenic Fusarium were isolated from the clubroots by the culture-dependent method. The outcome of this study illustrates that P. brassicae infection may change the fungal endophyte community associated with the roots of tumourous stem mustard and facilitates the entry of soil pathogen into the roots.
Project description:Microbial communities associated with plants represent key determinants of plant health, survival, and growth. However, a good understanding of the structural composition of the bacterial and fungal microbiome present in different plant tissues and growing environments, especially in transgenic woody plants, is required. In the present study, we hypothesized that environmental conditions, ecological niches, and transgenic events could influence the community structure of plant-associated microorganisms (bacterial and fungal endophytes). We sampled the root and stem endospheres of field-grown transgenic and non-transgenic poplar trees (Populus alba × P. berolinensis) and applied 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer amplicon Illumina MiSeq sequencing to determine the bacterial and fungal communities associated with the different plant habitats and tissues. We found that actinobacteria, proteobacteria, bacteroidetes, and firmicutes were the dominant endophytic bacteria, and the fungal community was dominated by dothideomycetes, agaricomycetes, leotiomycetes, and sordariomycetes. In conclusion, transgenic events did not affect the endophytic bacterial and fungal diversity of poplar trees. The bacterial and fungal community structure depends on the pH and the soil organic matter content. Each plant tissue represents a unique ecological niche for the microbial communities. Finally, we identified the indicator operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and core microbiome associated with the different plant tissues of Populus and different environmental conditions. The results provide a basis for further study of host-microbial interactions with the identified abundant OTUs of Populus.
Project description:Litter decomposition rates are affected by a variety of abiotic and biotic factors, including the presence of fungal endophytes in host plant tissues. This review broadly analyzes the findings of 67 studies on the roles of foliar endophytes in litter decomposition, and their effects on decomposition rates. From 29 studies and 1 review, we compiled a comprehensive table of 710 leaf-associated fungal taxa, including the type of tissue these taxa were associated with and isolated from, whether they were reported as endo- or epiphytic, and whether they had reported saprophytic abilities. Aquatic (i.e., in-stream) decomposition studies of endophyte-affected litter were significantly under-represented in the search results (p < 0.0001). Indicator species analyses revealed that different groups of fungal endophytes were significantly associated with cool or tropical climates, as well as specific plant host genera (p < 0.05). Finally, we argue that host plant and endophyte interactions can significantly influence litter decomposition rates and should be considered when interpreting results from both terrestrial and in-stream litter decomposition experiments.