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Research Project: Enabling Improved Environmental Stress Tolerance in Crops through Novel Computational Strategies and Tool Development

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: Drought and host selection influence microbial community dynamics in the grass root microbiome

Author
item NAYLOR, DANIEL - University Of California
item DEGRAAF, STEPHANIE - University Of California
item PURDOM, ELIZABETH - University Of California
item Coleman-Derr, Devin

Submitted to: The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2017
Publication Date: 7/27/2017
Citation: Naylor, D., Degraaf, S., Purdom, E., Coleman-Derr, D.A. 2017. Drought and host selection influence microbial community dynamics in the grass root microbiome. The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. 11:2691-2704. https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2017.118.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2017.118

Interpretive Summary: Root endophytes have been shown to play key roles in determining host fitness under periods of drought stress, and yet the effect of drought on the broader root endosphere microbial community remains largely uncharacterized. In this study, we present phylogenetic profiles of bacterial communities associated with drought-treated root and rhizosphere tissues of eighteen species of plants with varying degrees of drought tolerance belonging to the Poaceae family, including important crop plants.

Technical Abstract: Through 16S rRNA gene profiling across two distinct watering regimes and two developmental time points, we demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between host phylogenetic distance and the microbiome dissimilarity within root tissues, and that drought weakens this correlation by inducing conserved shifts in bacterial community composition. We identify a significant enrichment in a wide variety of Actinobacteria during drought within the roots of all hosts, and demonstrate that this enrichment is higher within the root than it is in the surrounding environments. Furthermore, we show that this observed enrichment is the result of an absolute increase in Actinobacterial abundance and that previously hypothesized mechanisms for observed enrichments in Actinobacteria in drought-treated soils are unlikely to fully account for the phenomena observed here within the plant root.