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Research Project: Discovery of Plant Genetic Mechanisms Controlling Microbial Recruitment to the Root Microbiome

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: Drought stress and root-associated bacterial communities

item NAYLOR, DANIEL - University Of California
item Coleman-Derr, Devin

Submitted to: Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2017
Publication Date: 1/9/2018
Citation: Naylor, D., Coleman-Derr, D.A. 2018. Drought stress and root-associated bacterial communities. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8(2223):1-16.

Interpretive Summary: Root-associated bacterial communities play a vital role in maintaining health of the plant host. These communities exist in complex relationships, where composition and abundance of community members is dependent on a number of factors such as local soil chemistry, plant genotype and phenotype, and perturbations in the surrounding abiotic environment. One common perturbation, drought, has been shown to have drastic effects on bacterial communities, yet little is understood about the underlying causes behind observed shifts in microbial abundance. As drought may affect root bacterial communities both directly by modulating moisture availability, as well as indirectly by altering soil chemistry and plant phenotypes, we provide a synthesis of observed trends in recent studies and discuss possible directions for future research that we hope will provide for more knowledgeable predictions about community responses to future drought events

Technical Abstract: In this review, we address the complex interplay between soil, plant and microbe that together determine the dynamics in the root microbiome during drought. While we attempt to synthesize the available literature by grouping results into commonly observed trends in several major topical areas, we acknowledge that there are many factors with potential influence on soil and root microbiomes which we do not cover in great detail, including climatic variables, host genotype and host developmental stage. However, we propose that a first step is establishing an understanding of the effects of drought on soils and on plant physiology. The first section focuses on drought-induced compositional and functional responses of soil bacterial communities, with an emphasis on non-plant associated soils, and discusses possible reasons for the observed responses. In the second section we consider how root-associated communities shift under drought, we address the plant’s physiological responses to drought and how these exert an impact on root-associated communities, and we discuss the role of specific plant growth-promoting traits in the selection of drought-enriched taxa. We conclude with a discussion of technical challenges and limitations in current research approaches used to study the plant root microbiome under drought, and offer suggestions on directions for future research.