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Lotus japonicus Symbiosis Genes Impact Microbial Interactions between Symbionts and Multikingdom Commensal Communities

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  • Thorsten Thiergart, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
  • ,
  • Rafal Zgadzaj, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
  • ,
  • Zoltán Bozsóki
  • ,
  • Ruben Garrido-Oter, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
  • ,
  • Simona Radutoiu
  • Paul Schulze-Lefert, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research

The wild legume Lotus japonicus engages in mutualistic symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Using plants grown in natural soil and community profiling of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and fungal internal transcribed spacers (ITSs), we examined the role of the Lotus symbiosis genes RAM1, NFR5, SYMRK, and CCaMK in structuring bacterial and fungal root-associated communities. We found host genotype-dependent community shifts in the root and rhizosphere compartments that were mainly confined to bacteria in nfr5 or fungi in ram1 mutants, while symrk and ccamk plants displayed major changes across both microbial kingdoms. We observed in all AM mutant roots an almost complete depletion of a large number of Glomeromycota taxa that was accompanied by a concomitant enrichment of Helotiales and Nectriaceae fungi, suggesting compensatory niche replacement within the fungal community. A subset of Glomeromycota whose colonization is strictly dependent on the common symbiosis pathway was retained in ram1 mutants, indicating that RAM1 is dispensable for intraradical colonization by some Glomeromycota fungi. However, intraradical colonization by bacteria belonging to the Burkholderiaceae and Anaeroplasmataceae is dependent on AM root infection, revealing a microbial interkingdom interaction. Despite the overall robustness of the bacterial root microbiota against major changes in the composition of root-associated fungal assemblages, bacterial and fungal cooccurrence network analysis demonstrates that simultaneous disruption of AM and rhizobium symbiosis increases the connectivity among taxa of the bacterial root microbiota. Our findings imply a broad role for Lotus symbiosis genes in structuring the root microbiota and identify unexpected microbial interkingdom interactions between root symbionts and commensal communities.IMPORTANCE Studies on symbiosis genes in plants typically focus on binary interactions between roots and soilborne nitrogen-fixing rhizobia or mycorrhizal fungi in laboratory environments. We utilized wild type and symbiosis mutants of a model legume, grown in natural soil, in which bacterial, fungal, or both symbioses are impaired to examine potential interactions between the symbionts and commensal microorganisms of the root microbiota when grown in natural soil. This revealed microbial interkingdom interactions between the root symbionts and fungal as well as bacterial commensal communities. Nevertheless, the bacterial root microbiota remains largely robust when fungal symbiosis is impaired. Our work implies a broad role for host symbiosis genes in structuring the root microbiota of legumes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • microbiome, plant-microbe interactions, symbiosis

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