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Microbiology. 2014 Mar;160(Pt 3):556-66. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.074468-0. Epub 2014 Jan 13.

Bacterial multispecies studies and microbiome analysis of a plant disease.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy.
Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea ‘La Mayora’, Universidad de Málaga-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IHSM-UMA-CSIC), Área de Genética, Facultad de Ciencias, Campus de Teatinos, Málaga, Spain
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, Università degli Studio di Perugia, Perugia, Italy


Although the great majority of bacteria found in nature live in multispecies communities, microbiological studies have focused historically on single species or competition and antagonism experiments between different species. Future directions need to focus much more on microbial communities in order to better understand what is happening in the wild. We are using olive knot disease as a model to study the role and interaction of multispecies bacterial communities in disease establishment/development. In the olive knot, non-pathogenic bacterial species (e.g. Erwinia toletana) co-exist with the pathogen (Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi); we have demonstrated cooperation among these two species via quorum sensing (QS) signal sharing. The outcome of this interaction is a more aggressive disease when co-inoculations are made compared with single inoculations. In planta experiments show that these two species co-localize in the olive knot, and this close proximity most probably facilitates exchange of QS signals and metabolites. In silico recreation of their metabolic pathways showed that they could have complementing pathways also implicating sharing of metabolites. Our microbiome studies of nine olive knot samples have shown that the olive knot community possesses great bacterial diversity; however. the presence of five genera (i.e. Pseudomonas, Pantoea, Curtobacterium, Pectobacterium and Erwinia) can be found in almost all samples.

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