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Planta. 2014 Apr;239(4):901-8. doi: 10.1007/s00425-013-2023-9. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Localization of the Bacillus subtilis beta-propeller phytase transcripts in nodulated roots of Phaseolus vulgaris supplied with phytate.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UMR1222 Ecologie Fonctionnelle & Biogéochimie des Sols & des Agroécosystèmes, INRA-IRD-CIRAD-SupAgro, 1 Place Pierre Viala, 34060, Montpellier Cedex, France,


Soil organic phosphorus (Po) such as phytate, which comprises up to 80 % of total Po, must be hydrolyzed by specific enzymes called phytases to be used by plants. In contrast to plants, bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis, have the ability to use phytate as the sole source of P due to the excretion of a beta-propeller phytase (BPP). In order to assess whether the B. subtilis BPP could make P available from phytate for the benefit of a nodulated legume, the P-sensitive recombinant inbred line RIL147 of Phaseolus vulgaris was grown under hydroaeroponic conditions with either 12.5 μM phytate (C₆H₁₈O₂₄P₆) or 75 μmol Pi (K₂HPO₄), and inoculated with Rhizobium tropici CIAT899 alone, or co-inoculated with both B. subtilis DSM 10 and CIAT899. The in situ RT-PCR of BPP genes displayed the most intense fluorescent BPP signal on root tips. Some BPP signal was found inside the root cortex and the endorhizosphere of the root tip, suggesting endophytic bacteria expressing BPP. However, the co-inoculation with B. subtilis was associated with a decrease in plant P content, nodulation and the subsequent plant growth. Such a competitive effect of B. subtilis on P acquisition from phytate in symbiotic nitrogen fixation might be circumvented if the rate of inoculation were reasoned in order to avoid the inhibition of nodulation by excess B. subtilis proliferation. It is concluded that B. subtilis BPP gene is expressed in P. vulgaris rhizosphere.

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