skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on February 22, 2023

Title: Whole-Genome Duplication and Host Genotype Affect Rhizosphere Microbial Communities
ABSTRACT The composition of microbial communities found in association with plants is influenced by host phenotype and genotype. However, the ways in which specific genetic architectures of host plants shape microbiomes are unknown. Genome duplication events are common in the evolutionary history of plants and influence many important plant traits, and thus, they may affect associated microbial communities. Using experimentally induced whole-genome duplication (WGD), we tested the effect of WGD on rhizosphere bacterial communities in Arabidopsis thaliana . We performed 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize differences between microbiomes associated with specific host genetic backgrounds (Columbia versus Landsberg) and ploidy levels (diploid versus tetraploid). We modeled relative abundances of bacterial taxa using a hierarchical Bayesian approach. We found that host genetic background and ploidy level affected rhizosphere community composition. We then tested to what extent microbiomes derived from a specific genetic background or ploidy level affected plant performance by inoculating sterile seedlings with microbial communities harvested from a prior generation. We found a negative effect of the tetraploid Columbia microbiome on growth of all four plant genetic backgrounds. These findings suggest an interplay between host genetic background and ploidy level and bacterial community assembly with potential ramifications for host fitness. more » Given the prevalence of ploidy-level variation in both wild and managed plant populations, the effects on microbiomes of this aspect of host genetic architecture could be a widespread driver of differences in plant microbiomes. IMPORTANCE Plants influence the composition of their associated microbial communities, yet the underlying host-associated genetic determinants are typically unknown. Genome duplication events are common in the evolutionary history of plants and affect many plant traits. Using Arabidopsis thaliana , we characterized how whole-genome duplication affected the composition of rhizosphere bacterial communities and how bacterial communities associated with two host plant genetic backgrounds and ploidy levels affected subsequent plant growth. We observed an interaction between ploidy level and genetic background that affected both bacterial community composition and function. This research reveals how genome duplication, a widespread genetic feature of both wild and crop plant species, influences bacterial assemblages and affects plant growth. « less
; ; ; ; ;
Bulgarelli, Davide
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Background Plants influence their root and rhizosphere microbial communities through the secretion of root exudates. However, how specific classes of root exudate compounds impact the assembly of root-associated microbiotas is not well understood, especially not under realistic field conditions. Maize roots secrete benzoxazinoids (BXs), a class of indole-derived defense compounds, and thereby impact the assembly of their microbiota. Here, we investigated the broader impacts of BX exudation on root and rhizosphere microbiotas of adult maize plants grown under natural conditions at different field locations in Europe and the USA. We examined the microbiotas of BX-producing and multiple BX-defective lines in two genetic backgrounds across three soils with different properties. Results Our analysis showed that BX secretion affected the community composition of the rhizosphere and root microbiota, with the most pronounced effects observed for root fungi. The impact of BX exudation was at least as strong as the genetic background, suggesting that BX exudation is a key trait by which maize structures its associated microbiota. BX-producing plants were not consistently enriching microbial lineages across the three field experiments. However, BX exudation consistently depleted Flavobacteriaceae and Comamonadaceae and enriched various potential plant pathogenic fungi in the roots across the different environments.more »Conclusions These findings reveal that BXs have a selective impact on root and rhizosphere microbiota composition across different conditions. Taken together, this study identifies the BX pathway as an interesting breeding target to manipulate plant-microbiome interactions.« less
  2. Mitchell, Aaron P. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans that is typically diploid yet has a highly labile genome tolerant of large-scale perturbations including chromosomal aneuploidy and loss-of-heterozygosity events. The ability to rapidly generate genetic variation is crucial for C. albicans to adapt to changing or stressful environments, like those encountered in the host. Genetic variation occurs via stress-induced mutagenesis or can be generated through its parasexual cycle, in which tetraploids arise via diploid mating or stress-induced mitotic defects and undergo nonmeiotic ploidy reduction. However, it remains largely unknown how genetic background contributes to C. albicans genome instability in vitro or in the host environment. Here, we tested how genetic background, ploidy, and the host environment impacts C. albicans genome stability. We found that host association induced both loss-of-heterozygosity events and genome size changes, regardless of genetic background or ploidy. However, the magnitude and types of genome changes varied across C. albicans strain background and ploidy state. We then assessed if host-induced genomic changes resulted in fitness consequences on growth rate and nonlethal virulence phenotypes and found that many host-derived isolates significantly changed relative to their parental strain. Interestingly, diploid host-associated C. albicans predominantly decreased host reproductive fitness, whereasmore »tetraploid host-associated C. albicans increased host reproductive fitness. Together, these results are important for understanding how host-induced genomic changes in C. albicans alter its relationship with the host. IMPORTANCE Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans. The ability to generate genetic variation is essential for adaptation and is a strategy that C. albicans and other fungal pathogens use to change their genome size. Stressful environments, including the host, induce C. albicans genome instability. Here, we investigated how C. albicans genetic background and ploidy state impact genome instability, both in vitro and in a host environment. We show that the host environment induces genome instability, but the magnitude depends on C. albicans genetic background. Furthermore, we show that tetraploid C. albicans is highly unstable in host environments and rapidly reduces in genome size. These reductions in genome size often resulted in reduced virulence. In contrast, diploid C. albicans displayed modest host-induced genome size changes, yet these frequently resulted in increased virulence. Such studies are essential for understanding how opportunistic pathogens respond and potentially adapt to the host environment.« less
  3. Fischer, Reinhard (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Glyphosate is a commonly used herbicide with a broad action spectrum. However, at sublethal doses, glyphosate can induce plant growth, a phenomenon known as hormesis. Most glyphosate hormesis studies have been performed under microbe-free or reduced-microbial-diversity conditions; only a few were performed in open systems or agricultural fields, which include a higher diversity of soil microorganisms. Here, we investigated how microbes affect the hormesis induced by low doses of glyphosate. To this end, we used Arabidopsis thaliana and a well-characterized synthetic bacterial community of 185 strains (SynCom) that mimics the root-associated microbiome of Arabidopsis . We found that a dose of 3.6 × 10 −6 g acid equivalent/liter (low dose of glyphosate, or LDG) produced an ∼14% increase in the shoot dry weight (i.e., hormesis) of uninoculated plants. Unexpectedly, in plants inoculated with the SynCom, LDG reduced shoot dry weight by ∼17%. We found that LDG enriched two Firmicutes and two Burkholderia strains in the roots. These specific strains are known to act as root growth inhibitors (RGI) in monoassociation assays. We tested the link between RGI and shoot dry weight reduction in LDG by assembling a new synthetic community lacking RGI strains. Dropping RGI strains out of the community restoredmore »growth induction by LDG. Finally, we showed that individual RGI strains from a few specific phyla were sufficient to switch the response to LDG from growth promotion to growth inhibition. Our results indicate that glyphosate hormesis was completely dependent on the root microbiome composition, specifically on the presence of root growth inhibitor strains. IMPORTANCE Since the introduction of glyphosate-resistant crops, glyphosate has become the most common and widely used herbicide around the world. Due to its intensive use and ability to bind to soil particles, it can be found at low concentrations in the environment. The effect of these remnants of glyphosate in plants has not been broadly studied; however, glyphosate 1,000 to 100,000 times less concentrated than the recommended field dose promoted growth in several species in laboratory and greenhouse experiments. However, this effect is rarely observed in agricultural fields, where complex communities of microbes have a central role in the way plants respond to external cues. Our study reveals how root-associated bacteria modulate the responses of Arabidopsis to low doses of glyphosate, shifting between growth promotion and growth inhibition.« less
  4. The root-associated microbiome (rhizobiome) affects plant health, stress tolerance, and nutrient use efficiency. However, it remains unclear to what extent the composition of the rhizobiome is governed by intraspecific variation in host plant genetics in the field and the degree to which host plant selection can reshape the composition of the rhizobiome. Here, we quantify the rhizosphere microbial communities associated with a replicated diversity panel of 230 maize ( Zea mays L .) genotypes grown in agronomically relevant conditions under high N (+N) and low N (-N) treatments. We analyze the maize rhizobiome in terms of 150 abundant and consistently reproducible microbial groups and we show that the abundance of many root-associated microbes is explainable by natural genetic variation in the host plant, with a greater proportion of microbial variance attributable to plant genetic variation in -N conditions. Population genetic approaches identify signatures of purifying selection in the maize genome associated with the abundance of several groups of microbes in the maize rhizobiome. Genome-wide association study was conducted using the abundance of microbial groups as rhizobiome traits, and n=622 plant loci were identified that are linked to the abundance of n=104 microbial groups in the maize rhizosphere. In 62/104 cases,more »which is more than expected by chance, the abundance of these same microbial groups was correlated with variation in plant vigor indicators derived from high throughput phenotyping of the same field experiment. We provide comprehensive datasets about the three-way interaction of host genetics, microbe abundance, and plant performance under two N treatments to facilitate targeted experiments toward harnessing the full potential of root-associated microbial symbionts in maize production.« less
  5. Campbell, Barbara J. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT In nutrient-limited conditions, plants rely on rhizosphere microbial members to facilitate nutrient acquisition, and in return, plants provide carbon resources to these root-associated microorganisms. However, atmospheric nutrient deposition can affect plant-microbe relationships by changing soil bacterial composition and by reducing cooperation between microbial taxa and plants. To examine how long-term nutrient addition shapes rhizosphere community composition, we compared traits associated with bacterial (fast-growing copiotrophs, slow-growing oligotrophs) and plant (C 3 forb, C 4 grass) communities residing in a nutrient-poor wetland ecosystem. Results revealed that oligotrophic taxa dominated soil bacterial communities and that fertilization increased the presence of oligotrophs in bulk and rhizosphere communities. Additionally, bacterial species diversity was greatest in fertilized soils, particularly in bulk soils. Nutrient enrichment (fertilized versus unfertilized) and plant association (bulk versus rhizosphere) determined bacterial community composition; bacterial community structure associated with plant functional group (grass versus forb) was similar within treatments but differed between fertilization treatments. The core forb microbiome consisted of 602 unique taxa, and the core grass microbiome consisted of 372 unique taxa. Forb rhizospheres were enriched in potentially disease-suppressive bacterial taxa, and grass rhizospheres were enriched in bacterial taxa associated with complex carbon decomposition. Results from this study demonstrate that fertilizationmore »serves as a strong environmental filter on the soil microbiome, which leads to distinct rhizosphere communities and can shift plant effects on the rhizosphere microbiome. These taxonomic shifts within plant rhizospheres could have implications for plant health and ecosystem functions associated with carbon and nitrogen cycling. IMPORTANCE Over the last century, humans have substantially altered nitrogen and phosphorus cycling. Use of synthetic fertilizer and burning of fossil fuels and biomass have increased nitrogen and phosphorus deposition, which results in unintended fertilization of historically low-nutrient ecosystems. With increased nutrient availability, plant biodiversity is expected to decline, and the abundance of copiotrophic taxa is anticipated to increase in bacterial communities. Here, we address how bacterial communities associated with different plant functional types (forb, grass) shift due to long-term nutrient enrichment. Unlike other studies, results revealed an increase in bacterial diversity, particularly of oligotrophic bacteria in fertilized plots. We observed that nutrient addition strongly determines forb and grass rhizosphere composition, which could indicate different metabolic preferences in the bacterial communities. This study highlights how long-term fertilization of oligotroph-dominated wetlands could alter diversity and metabolism of rhizosphere bacterial communities in unexpected ways.« less