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Environ Microbiol. 2012 Oct;14(10):2775-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02777.x. Epub 2012 May 23.

Transcriptomic analysis of responses to exudates reveal genes required for rhizosphere competence of the endophyte Azoarcus sp. strain BH72.

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Department of Microbe-Plant interactions, University of Bremen, 28334 Bremen, Germany.


Endophytic colonization is a very complex process which is not yet completely understood. Molecules exuded by the plants may act as signals which influence the ability of the microbe to colonize the host or survive in the rhizosphere. Here we used the whole genome microarray approach to investigate the response of the diazotrophic model endophyte, Azoarcus sp. strain BH72, to exudates of O. sativa cv. Nipponbare in order to identify differentially regulated genes. On exposure to exudates, an overall expression of 4.4% of the 3992 protein coding genes of Azoarcus sp. strain BH72 was altered, out of which 2.4% was upregulated and 2.0% was downregulated. Genes with modulated expression included a few whose involvement in plant-microbe interaction had already been established, whereas a large fraction comprised of genes encoding proteins with putative or unknown functions. Mutational analysis of several differentially regulated genes like those encoding a minor pilin PilX, signal transduction proteins containing GGDEF domains and a serine-threonine kinase as a putative component of the type IV secretion system (T6SS), revealed their role in host colonization. Our data suggest that strain BH72 may be primed for the endophytic lifestyle by exudates, as the expression of bacterial genes relevant for endophytic colonization of roots is induced by root exudates.

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