plants and microbes
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Rescooped by kongxiangxiao from The Plant Microbiome!

mBio: The Intracellular Scots Pine Shoot Symbiont Methylobacterium extorquens DSM13060 Aggregates around the Host Nucleus and Encodes Eukaryote-Like Proteins

mBio: The Intracellular Scots Pine Shoot Symbiont Methylobacterium extorquens DSM13060 Aggregates around the Host Nucleus and Encodes Eukaryote-Like Proteins | plants and microbes |
Endophytes are microbes that inhabit plant tissues without any apparent signs of infection, often fundamentally altering plant phenotypes. While endophytes are typically studied in plant roots, where they colonize the apoplast or dead cells, Methylobacterium extorquens strain DSM13060 is a facultatively intracellular symbiont of the meristematic cells of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) shoot tips. The bacterium promotes host growth and development without the production of known plant growth-stimulating factors. Our objective was to examine intracellular colonization by M. extorquens DSM13060 of Scots pine and sequence its genome to identify novel molecular mechanisms potentially involved in intracellular colonization and plant growth promotion. Reporter construct analysis of known growth promotion genes demonstrated that these were only weakly active inside the plant or not expressed at all. We found that bacterial cells accumulate near the nucleus in intact, living pine cells, pointing to host nuclear processes as the target of the symbiont’s activity. Genome analysis identified a set of eukaryote-like functions that are common as effectors in intracellular bacterial pathogens, supporting the notion of intracellular bacterial activity. These include ankyrin repeats, transcription factors, and host-defense silencing functions and may be secreted by a recently imported type IV secretion system. Potential factors involved in host growth include three copies of phospholipase A2, an enzyme that is rare in bacteria but implicated in a range of plant cellular processes, and proteins putatively involved in gibberellin biosynthesis. Our results describe a novel endophytic niche and create a foundation for postgenomic studies of a symbiosis with potential applications in forestry and agriculture.

IMPORTANCE All multicellular eukaryotes host communities of essential microbes, but most of these interactions are still poorly understood. In plants, bacterial endophytes are found inside all tissues. M. extorquens DSM13060 occupies an unusual niche inside cells of the dividing shoot tissues of a pine and stimulates seedling growth without producing cytokinin, auxin, or other plant hormones commonly synthesized by plant-associated bacteria. Here, we tracked the bacteria using a fluorescent tag and confocal laser scanning microscopy and found that they localize near the nucleus of the plant cell. This prompted us to sequence the genome and identify proteins that may affect host growth by targeting processes in the host cytoplasm and nucleus. We found many novel genes whose products may modulate plant processes from within the plant cell. Our results open up new avenues to better understand how bacteria assist in plant growth, with broad implications for plant science, forestry, and agriculture.

Via Jean-Michel Ané, Stéphane Hacquard
Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, April 30, 2015 3:48 PM

That's unusual to say the least!

Rescooped by kongxiangxiao from The Plant Microbiome!

PNAS: Transcriptome diversity among rice root types during asymbiosis and interaction with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Root systems consist of different root types (RTs) with distinct developmental and functional characteristics. RTs may be individually reprogrammed in response to their microenvironment to maximize adaptive plasticity. Molecular understanding of such specific remodeling—although crucial for crop improvement—is limited. Here, RT-specific transcriptomes of adult rice crown, large and fine lateral roots were assessed, revealing molecular evidence for functional diversity among individual RTs. Of the three rice RTs, crown roots displayed a significant enrichment of transcripts associated with phytohormones and secondary cell wall (SCW) metabolism, whereas lateral RTs showed a greater accumulation of transcripts related to mineral transport. In nature, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis represents the default state of most root systems and is known to modify root system architecture. Rice RTs become heterogeneously colonized by AM fungi, with large laterals preferentially entering into the association. However, RT-specific transcriptional responses to AM symbiosis were quantitatively most pronounced for crown roots despite their modest physical engagement in the interaction. Furthermore, colonized crown roots adopted an expression profile more related to mycorrhizal large lateral than to noncolonized crown roots, suggesting a fundamental reprogramming of crown root character. Among these changes, a significant reduction in SCW transcripts was observed that was correlated with an alteration of SCW composition as determined by mass spectrometry. The combined change in SCW, hormone- and transport-related transcript profiles across the RTs indicates a previously overlooked switch of functional relationships among RTs during AM symbiosis, with a potential impact on root system architecture and functioning.

Via Stéphane Hacquard
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