Modulation of the Root Microbiome by Plant Molecules: The Basis for Targeted Disease Suppression and Plant Growth Promotion.
ABSTRACT: Plants host a mesmerizing diversity of microbes inside and around their roots, known as the microbiome. The microbiome is composed mostly of fungi, bacteria, oomycetes, and archaea that can be either pathogenic or beneficial for plant health and fitness. To grow healthy, plants need to surveil soil niches around the roots for the detection of pathogenic microbes, and in parallel maximize the services of beneficial microbes in nutrients uptake and growth promotion. Plants employ a palette of mechanisms to modulate their microbiome including structural modifications, the exudation of secondary metabolites and the coordinated action of different defence responses. Here, we review the current understanding on the composition and activity of the root microbiome and how different plant molecules can shape the structure of the root-associated microbial communities. Examples are given on interactions that occur in the rhizosphere between plants and soilborne fungi. We also present some well-established examples of microbiome harnessing to highlight how plants can maximize their fitness by selecting their microbiome. Understanding how plants manipulate their microbiome can aid in the design of next-generation microbial inoculants for targeted disease suppression and enhanced plant growth.
Project description:Terrestrial plants host phylogenetically and functionally diverse groups of below-ground microbes, whose community structure controls plant growth/survival in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. Therefore, understanding the processes by which whole root-associated microbiomes are organized is one of the major challenges in ecology and plant science. We here report that diverse root-associated fungi can form highly compartmentalized networks of coexistence within host roots and that the structure of the fungal symbiont communities can be partitioned into semi-discrete types even within a single host plant population. Illumina sequencing of root-associated fungi in a monodominant south beech forest revealed that the network representing symbiont-symbiont co-occurrence patterns was compartmentalized into clear modules, which consisted of diverse functional groups of mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi. Consequently, terminal roots of the plant were colonized by either of the two largest fungal species sets (represented by Oidiodendron or Cenococcum). Thus, species-rich root microbiomes can have alternative community structures, as recently shown in the relationships between human gut microbiome type (i.e., 'enterotype') and host individual health. This study also shows an analytical framework for pinpointing network hubs in symbiont-symbiont networks, leading to the working hypothesis that a small number of microbial species organize the overall root-microbiome dynamics.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The plant microbiome is an integral part of the host and increasingly recognized as playing fundamental roles in plant growth and health. Increasing evidence indicates that plant rhizosphere recruits beneficial microbes to the plant to suppress soil-borne pathogens. However, the ecological processes that govern plant microbiome assembly and functions in the below- and aboveground compartments under pathogen invasion are not fully understood. Here, we studied the bacterial and fungal communities associated with 12 compartments (e.g., soils, roots, stems, and fruits) of chili pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) using amplicons (16S and ITS) and metagenomics approaches at the main pepper production sites in China and investigated how Fusarium wilt disease (FWD) affects the assembly, co-occurrence patterns, and ecological functions of plant-associated microbiomes.<h4>Results</h4>The amplicon data analyses revealed that FWD affected less on the microbiome of pepper reproductive organs (fruit) than vegetative organs (root and stem), with the strongest impact on the upper stem epidermis. Fungal intra-kingdom networks were less stable and their communities were more sensitive to FWD than the bacterial communities. The analysis of microbial interkingdom network further indicated that FWD destabilized the network and induced the ecological importance of fungal taxa. Although the diseased plants were more susceptible to colonization by other pathogenic fungi, their below- and aboveground compartments can also recruit potential beneficial bacteria. Some of the beneficial bacterial taxa enriched in the diseased plants were also identified as core taxa for plant microbiomes and hub taxa in networks. On the other hand, metagenomic analysis revealed significant enrichment of several functional genes involved in detoxification, biofilm formation, and plant-microbiome signaling pathways (i.e., chemotaxis) in the diseased plants.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Together, we demonstrate that a diseased plant could recruit beneficial bacteria and mitigate the changes in reproductive organ microbiome to facilitate host or its offspring survival. The host plants may attract the beneficial microbes through the modulation of plant-microbiome signaling pathways. These findings significantly advance our understanding on plant-microbiome interactions and could provide fundamental and important data for harnessing the plant microbiome in sustainable agriculture. Video abstract.
Project description:Invasive plants often interact with antagonists that include native parasitic plants and pathogenic soil microbes, which may reduce fitness of the invaders. However, to date, most of the studies on the ecological consequences of antagonistic interactions between invasive plants and the resident biota focused only on pairwise interactions. A full understanding of invasion dynamics requires studies that test the effects of multiple antagonists on fitness of invasive plants and co-occurring native plants. Here, we used an invasive plant Mikania micrantha, a co-occurring native plant Coix lacryma-jobi, and a native holoparasitic plant Cuscuta campestris to test whether parasitism on M. micrantha interacts with soil fungi and bacteria to reduce fitness of the invader and promote growth of the co-occurring native plant. In a factorial setup, M. micrantha and C. lacryma-jobi were grown together in pots in the presence versus absence of parasitism on M. micrantha by C. campestris and in the presence versus absence of full complements of soil bacteria and fungi. Fungicide and bactericide were used to suppress soil fungi and bacteria, respectively. Findings show that heavy parasitism by C. campestris caused the greatest reduction in M. micrantha biomass when soil fungi and bacteria were suppressed. In contrast, the co-occurring native plant C. lacryma-jobi experienced the greatest increase in biomass when grown with heavily parasitized M. micrantha and in the presence of a full complement of soil fungi and bacteria. Taken together, our results suggest that selective parasitism on susceptible invasive plants by native parasitic plants and soil microorganisms may diminish competitive ability of invasive plants and facilitate native plant coexistence with invasive plants.
Project description:Phytoremediation is a promising in situ green technology based on the use of plants to cleanup soils from organic and inorganic pollutants. Microbes, particularly bacteria and fungi, that closely interact with plant roots play key roles in phytoremediation processes. In polluted soils, the root-associated microbes contribute to alleviation of plant stress, improve nutrient uptake and may either degrade or sequester a large range of soil pollutants. Therefore, improving the efficiency of phytoremediation requires a thorough knowledge of the microbial diversity living in the rhizosphere and in close association with plant roots in both the surface and the endosphere. This study aims to assess fungal ITS and bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity using high-throughput sequencing in rhizospheric soils and roots of three plant species (Solidago canadensis, Populus balsamifera, and Lycopus europaeus) growing spontaneously in three petroleum hydrocarbon polluted sedimentation basins. Microbial community structures of rhizospheric soils and roots were compared with those of microbes associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) spores to determine the links between the root and rhizosphere communities and those associated with AMF. Our results showed a difference in OTU richness and community structure composition between soils and roots for both bacteria and fungi. We found that petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant (PHP) concentrations have a significant effect on fungal and bacterial community structures in both soils and roots, whereas plant species identity showed a significant effect only on the roots for bacteria and fungi. Our results also showed that the community composition of bacteria and fungi in soil and roots varied from those associated with AMF spores harvested from the same plants. This let us to speculate that in petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils, AMF may release chemical compounds by which they recruit beneficial microbes to tolerate or degrade the PHPs present in the soil.
Project description:The sessile nature of plants forced them to evolve mechanisms to prioritize their responses to simultaneous stresses, including colonization by microbes or nutrient starvation. Here, we compare the genomes of a beneficial root endophyte, Colletotrichum tofieldiae and its pathogenic relative C. incanum, and examine the transcriptomes of both fungi and their plant host Arabidopsis during phosphate starvation. Although the two species diverged only 8.8 million years ago and have similar gene arsenals, we identify genomic signatures indicative of an evolutionary transition from pathogenic to beneficial lifestyles, including a narrowed repertoire of secreted effector proteins, expanded families of chitin-binding and secondary metabolism-related proteins, and limited activation of pathogenicity-related genes in planta. We show that beneficial responses are prioritized in C. tofieldiae-colonized roots under phosphate-deficient conditions, whereas defense responses are activated under phosphate-sufficient conditions. These immune responses are retained in phosphate-starved roots colonized by pathogenic C. incanum, illustrating the ability of plants to maximize survival in response to conflicting stresses.
Project description:In natural and agricultural ecosystems, survival and growth of plants depend substantially on residing microbes in the endosphere and rhizosphere. Although numerous studies have reported the presence of plant-growth promoting bacteria and fungi in below-ground biomes, it remains a major challenge to understand how sets of microbial species positively or negatively affect plants' performance. By conducting a series of single- and dual-inoculation experiments of 13 plant-associated fungi targeting a Brassicaceae plant species (<i>Brassica rapa</i> var. <i>perviridis</i>), we here systematically evaluated how microbial effects on plants depend on presence/absence of co-occurring microbes. The comparison of single- and dual-inoculation experiments showed that combinations of the fungal isolates with the highest plant-growth promoting effects in single inoculations did not have highly positive impacts on plant performance traits (e.g., shoot dry weight). In contrast, pairs of fungi with small/moderate contributions to plant growth in single-inoculation contexts showed the greatest effects on plants among the 78 fungal pairs examined. These results on the offset and synergistic effects of pairs of microbes suggest that inoculation experiments of single microbial species/isolates can result in the overestimation or underestimation of microbial functions in multi-species contexts. Because keeping single-microbe systems under outdoor conditions is impractical, designing sets of microbes that can maximize performance of crop plants is an important step for the use of microbial functions in sustainable agriculture.
Project description:The soil-plant ecosystem harbors an immense microbial diversity that challenges investigative approaches to study traits underlying plant-microbe association. Studies solely based on culture-dependent techniques have overlooked most microbial diversity. Here we describe the concomitant use of culture-dependent and -independent techniques to target plant-beneficial microbial groups from the sugarcane microbiome. The community-based culture collection (CBC) approach was used to access microbes from roots and stalks. The CBC recovered 399 unique bacteria representing 15.9% of the rhizosphere core microbiome and 61.6-65.3% of the endophytic core microbiomes of stalks. By cross-referencing the CBC (culture-dependent) with the sugarcane microbiome profile (culture-independent), we designed a synthetic community comprised of naturally occurring highly abundant bacterial groups from roots and stalks, most of which has been poorly explored so far. We then used maize as a model to probe the abundance-based synthetic inoculant. We show that when inoculated in maize plants, members of the synthetic community efficiently colonize plant organs, displace the natural microbiota and dominate at 53.9% of the rhizosphere microbial abundance. As a result, inoculated plants increased biomass by 3.4-fold as compared to uninoculated plants. The results demonstrate that abundance-based synthetic inoculants can be successfully applied to recover beneficial plant microbes from plant microbiota.
Project description:Environmental heterogeneity is a major driver of plant-microbiome assembly, but the specific climate and soil conditions that are involved remain poorly understood. To better understand plant microbiome formation, we examined the bacteria and fungi that colonize wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) plants in North American and European populations. Using transects as replicates, we found strong overlap among the environmental conditions that best predict the overall similarity and richness of the plant microbiome, including soil nutrients that replicate across continents. Temperature is also among the main predictors of diversity for both bacteria and fungi in both the leaf and, unexpectedly, the root microbiome. Our results indicate that a small number of environmental factors, and their interactions, consistently contribute to plant microbiome formation, which has implications for predicting the contributions of microbes to plant productivity in ever-changing environments.
Project description:Plant microbiomes play an important role in agricultural productivity, but there is still much to learn about their provenance, diversity, and organization. In order to study the role of vertical transmission in establishing the bacterial and fungal populations of juvenile plants, we used high-throughput sequencing to survey the microbiomes of seeds, spermospheres, rhizospheres, roots, and shoots of the monocot crops maize (B73), rice (Nipponbare), switchgrass (Alamo), Brachiaria decumbens, wheat, sugarcane, barley, and sorghum; the dicot crops tomato (Heinz 1706), coffee (Geisha), common bean (G19833), cassava, soybean, pea, and sunflower; and the model plants Arabidopsis thaliana (Columbia-0) and Brachypodium distachyon (Bd21). Unsterilized seeds were planted in either sterile sand or farm soil inside hermetically sealed jars, and after as much as 60 days of growth, DNA was extracted to allow for amplicon sequence-based profiling of the bacterial and fungal populations that developed. Seeds of most plants were dominated by Proteobacteria and Ascomycetes, with all containing operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to Pantoea and Enterobacter. All spermospheres also contained DNA belonging to Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Fusarium. Despite having only seeds as a source of inoculum, all plants grown on sterile sand in sealed jars nevertheless developed rhizospheres, endospheres, and phyllospheres dominated by shared Proteobacteria and diverse fungi. Compared to sterile sand-grown seedlings, growth on soil added new microbial diversity to the plant, especially to rhizospheres; however, all 63 seed-transmitted bacterial OTUs were still present, and the most abundant bacteria (Pantoea, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, and Massilia) were the same dominant seed-transmitted microbes observed in sterile sand-grown plants. While most plant mycobiome diversity was observed to come from soil, judging by read abundance, the dominant fungi (Fusarium and Alternaria) were also vertically transmitted. Seed-transmitted fungi and bacteria appear to make up the majority of juvenile crop plant microbial populations by abundance, and based on occupancy, there seems to be a pan-angiosperm seed-transmitted core bacterial microbiome. Further study of these seed-transmitted microbes will be important to understand their role in plant growth and health, as well as their fate during the plant life cycle and may lead to innovations for agricultural inoculant development.
Project description:Root-rot disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum is a growing problem in agriculture for commercial cultivation of Panax notoginseng. Diverse microbes colonize plant roots, and numerous earlier studies have characterized the rhizospheric microbiome of P. notoginseng; nevertheless, the function of probiotic consortia on the rhizospheric microbiome against the root-rot disease remain elusive. We have compared and described the rhizospheric microbiome of lightly and severely diseased P. notoginseng as well as the interactions of the probiotic consortia and rhizospheric microbiome, and their function to alleviate the plant diseases were explored by inoculating probiotic consortia in bulk soil. From the perspective of microbial diversity, the rhizospheric dominant bacterial and fungal genera were utterly different between lightly and severely diseased plants. Through inoculating assembled probiotic consortia to diseased plant roots, we found that the application of probiotic consortia reshaped the rhizosphere microbiome, increasing the relative abundance of bacteria and fungi, while the relative abundance of potential pathogens was decreased significantly. We developed a microcosm system that provides a preliminary ecological framework for constructing an active probiotic community to reshape soil microbiota and restrain the disease. Microbial community structure differs between lightly and seriously diseased plants. The application of probiotic consortia changes the imbalance of micro-ecology to a state of relative health, reducing plant mortality. Plant disease suppression may be achieved by seeking and applying antagonistic microbes based on their direct inhibitory capability or by restructuring the soil microbiome structure and function.