Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Plant Gene Expression Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386777

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

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: Co-occurrence networks reveal more complexity than community composition in resistance and resilience of microbial communities

item GAO, CHENG - University Of California
item XU, L - University Of California
item MONTOYA, LILLIAM - University Of California
item MADERA, MARY - University Of California
item HOLLINGSWORTH, JOY - Kearney Agricultural Center
item CHEN, LIANG - Joint Genome Institute
item PURDOM, ELIZABETH - University Of California
item SINGAN, VASANTH - Joint Genome Institute
item VOGEL, JOHN - University Of California
item HUTMACHER, ROBERT - Joint Genome Institute
item DAHLBERG, JEFF - University Of California Agriculture And Natural Resources (UCANR)
item Coleman-Derr, Devin
item LEMAUX, PEGGY - University Of California
item TAYLOR, JOHN - University Of California

Submitted to: Nature Communications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2022
Publication Date: 7/5/2022
Citation: Gao, C., Xu, L., Montoya, L., Madera, M., Hollingsworth, J., Chen, L., Purdom, E., Singan, V., Vogel, J., Hutmacher, R., Dahlberg, J., Coleman-Derr, D.A., Lemaux, P., Taylor, J. 2022. Co-occurrence networks reveal more complexity than community composition in resistance and resilience of microbial communities. Nature Communications. 13. Article 3867.

Interpretive Summary: Our application of co-correlation analyses demonstrated the dynamic nature of microbial communities in response to drought and suggest possible strategies to use microbes to improve plant drought tolerance. In terms of translating basic research to agricultural practice, the strengthening in drought of fungal networks in the rhizosphere and bacterial networks in leaves are prime targets for microbiome engineering. Given that microbial networks show association with function, the drought-strengthened networks may help the host plant adapt to drought. This association suggests that inoculation of the hub taxa might rescue the drought-disrupted networks and improve drought tolerance.

Technical Abstract: Plant response to drought stress involves fungi and bacteria that live on and in plants and in the rhizosphere. Manipulation of these myco- and microbiomes has the potential to mitigate drought stress under global climate change, yet the stability of these microbiomes remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the resistance and resilience of fungi and bacteria to drought in an agricultural system using both community composition, and microbial interactions inferred from pairwise correlations and microbial co-occurrence networks. Our tests of the two hypotheses that fungi are (i) more resistant but (ii) less resilient than bacteria found robust support at the level of community composition.