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Plant Pathol J. 2013 Mar;29(1):59-66. doi: 10.5423/PPJ.OA.10.2012.0155.

Bacterial Traits Involved in Colonization of Arabidopsis thaliana Roots by Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42.

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Humboldt University Berlin, Institute of Biology, Chausseestr. 117, D-10115 Berlin, Germany ; ABiTEP GmbH, Glienicker Weg 185, 12489 Berlin, Germany.
Humboldt University Berlin, Institute of Biology, Chausseestr. 117, D-10115 Berlin, Germany.


Colonization studies previously performed with a green-fluorescent-protein, GFP, labeled derivative of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42 revealed that the bacterium behaved different in colonizing surfaces of plant roots of different species (Fan et al., 2012). In order to extend these studies and to elucidate which genes are crucial for root colonization, we applied targeted mutant strains to Arabidopsis seedlings. The fates of root colonization in mutant strains impaired in synthesis of alternative sigma factors, non-ribosomal synthesis of lipopeptides and polyketides, biofilm formation, swarming motility, and plant growth promoting activity were analyzed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Whilst the wild-type strain heavily colonized surfaces of root tips and lateral roots, the mutant strains were impaired in their ability to colonize root tips and most of them were unable to colonize lateral roots. Ability to colonize plant roots is not only dependent on the ability to form biofilms or swarming motility. Six mutants, deficient in abrB-, sigH-, sigD-, nrfA-, yusV and RBAM017410, but not affected in biofilm formation, displayed significantly reduced root colonization. The nrfA- and yusV-mutant strains colonized border cells and, partly, root surfaces but did not colonize root tips or lateral roots.


Arabidopsis thaliana; Bacillus amyloliquefaciens; biocontrol; plant growth promotion; root colonization

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