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  1. Abstract

    Climate change is a defining challenge of the 21st century, and this decade is a critical time for action to mitigate the worst effects on human populations and ecosystems. Plant science can play an important role in developing crops with enhanced resilience to harsh conditions (e.g. heat, drought, salt stress, flooding, disease outbreaks) and engineering efficient carbon-capturing and carbon-sequestering plants. Here, we present examples of research being conducted in these areas and discuss challenges and open questions as a call to action for the plant science community.

  2. Plants have an innate immune system to fight off potential invaders that is based on the perception of nonself or modified-self molecules. Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are evolutionarily conserved microbial molecules whose extracellular detection by specific cell surface receptors initiates an array of biochemical responses collectively known as MAMP-triggered immunity (MTI). Well-characterized MAMPs include chitin, peptidoglycan, and flg22, a 22-amino acid epitope found in the major building block of the bacterial flagellum, FliC. The importance of MAMP detection by the plant immune system is underscored by the large diversity of strategies used by pathogens to interfere with MTI and that failure to do so is often associated with loss of virulence. Yet, whether or how MTI functions beyond pathogenic interactions is not well understood. Here we demonstrate that a community of root commensal bacteria modulates a specific and evolutionarily conserved sector of theArabidopsisimmune system. We identify a set of robust, taxonomically diverse MTI suppressor strains that are efficient root colonizers and, notably, can enhance the colonization capacity of other tested commensal bacteria. We highlight the importance of extracellular strategies for MTI suppression by showing that the type 2, not the type 3, secretion system is required for the immunomodulatory activitymore »of one robust MTI suppressor. Our findings reveal that root colonization by commensals is controlled by MTI, which, in turn, can be selectively modulated by specific members of a representative bacterial root microbiota.

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  3. Plant roots and animal guts have evolved specialized cell layers to control mineral nutrient homeostasis. These layers must tolerate the resident microbiota while keeping homeostatic integrity. Whether and how the root diffusion barriers in the endodermis, which are critical for the mineral nutrient balance of plants, coordinate with the microbiota is unknown. We demonstrate that genes controlling endodermal function in the model plantArabidopsis thalianacontribute to the plant microbiome assembly. We characterized a regulatory mechanism of endodermal differentiation driven by the microbiota with profound effects on nutrient homeostasis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this mechanism is linked to the microbiota’s capacity to repress responses to the phytohormone abscisic acid in the root. Our findings establish the endodermis as a regulatory hub coordinating microbiota assembly and homeostatic mechanisms.