Leaf surface microbiome protects against a fungal pathogen

A new interesting paper in the New Phytologist

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A new paper in the New Phytologist uncovers a function of the leaf microbiome in the protection of plants.

The authors looked at the importance of the phyllosphere microbiome in plant resistance. They used the cuticle mutants bdg (BODYGUARD) or lacs2.3 (LONG CHAIN FATTY ACID SYNTHASE 2) that are strongly resistant to the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. They infected the plants and used 16S rDNA sequencing of phyllosphere microbiome which was followed by high coverage sequencing of isolated bacteria from the phyllosphere

They found that bdg became as susceptible as wild-type (WT) plants whereas lacs2.3 mutants retained the resistance. Adding washes of its phyllosphere microbiome restored the resistance of bdg mutants, but not of lacs2.3 suggesting that the latter resistance results from other mechanisms. It appears that WT and cuticle mutant plants have distinct phyllosphere microbiome populations. One species identified as Pseudomonas sp isolated from the microbiome of bdg provided resistance to B. cinerea on Arabidopsis and on apple fruits.

The authors conclude that microbes present on the plant surface contribute to the resistance to B. cinerea.

The microbiome of the leaf surface of Arabidopsis protects against a fungal pathogen

Unyarat Ritpitakphong, Laurent Falquet, Artit Vimoltust, Antoine Berger, Jean-Pierre Métraux, Floriane L'Haridon

First published: 4 January 2016

DOI: 10.1111/nph.13808

Magdalena Skipper

Editor in Chief, Nature, Nature Research, Springer Nature

I am a geneticist by training. Having done research using classical genetics and molecular biology in a variety of model organisms I left the bench to become an editor, first for Nature Reviews Genetics and then Nature. I have worked with the research community as an editor, in a variety of roles, for over 17 years