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J Exp Bot. 2009;60(6):1729-42. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp053. Epub 2009 Apr 2.

Influence of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions on rhizobacterial communities and natural variation in root exudates.

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Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA.


Plant species is considered to be one of the most important factors in shaping rhizobacterial communities, but specific plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere are still not fully understood. Arabidopsis thaliana, for which a large number of naturally occurring ecotype accessions exist, lacks mycorrhizal associations and is hence an ideal model for rhizobacterial studies. Eight Arabidopsis accessions were found to exert a marked selective influence on bacteria associated with their roots, as determined by terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA). Community differences in species composition and relative abundance were both significant (P <0.001). The eight distinct and reproducible accession-dependent community profiles also differed from control bulk soil. Root exudates of these variants were analysed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to try to establish whether the unique rhizobacterial assemblages among accessions could be attributed to plant-regulated chemical changes in the rhizosphere. Natural variation in root exudation patterns was clearly exhibited, suggesting that differences in exudation patterns among accessions could be influencing bacterial assemblages. Other factors such as root system architecture are also probably involved. Finally, to investigate the Arabidopsis rhizosphere further, the phylogenetic diversity of rhizobacteria from accession Cvi-0 is described.

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