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Microbes Environ. 2017 Dec 27;32(4):314-323. doi: 10.1264/jsme2.ME17031. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

Nitrate Supply-Dependent Shifts in Communities of Root-Associated Bacteria in Arabidopsis.

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Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University.
Division for Interdisciplinary Advanced Research and Education, Tohoku University.
Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization.
Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University.


Root-associated bacterial communities are necessary for healthy plant growth. Nitrate is a signal molecule as well as a major nitrogen source for plant growth. In this study, nitrate-dependent alterations in root-associated bacterial communities and the relationship between nitrate signaling and root-associated bacteria in Arabidopsis were examined. The bacterial community was analyzed by a ribosomal RNA intergenic spacer analysis (RISA) and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. The Arabidopsis root-associated bacterial community shifted depending on the nitrate amount and timing of nitrate application. The relative abundance of operational taxonomic units of 25.8% was significantly changed by the amount of nitrate supplied. Moreover, at the family level, the relative abundance of several major root-associated bacteria including Burkholderiaceae, Paenibacillaceae, Bradyrhizobiaceae, and Rhizobiaceae markedly fluctuated with the application of nitrate. These results suggest that the application of nitrate strongly affects root-associated bacterial ecosystems in Arabidopsis. Bulk soil bacterial communities were also affected by the application of nitrate; however, these changes were markedly different from those in root-associated bacteria. These results also suggest that nitrate-dependent alterations in root-associated bacterial communities are mainly affected by plant-derived factors in Arabidopsis. T-DNA insertion plant lines of the genes for two transcription factors involved in nitrate signaling in Arabidopsis roots, NLP7 and TCP20, showed similar nitrate-dependent shifts in root-associated bacterial communities from the wild-type, whereas minor differences were observed in root-associated bacteria. Thus, these results indicate that NLP7 and TCP20 are not major regulators of nitrate-dependent bacterial communities in Arabidopsis roots.


Arabidopsis; NIN-like protein; TCP20; nitrate; root-associated bacterial communities

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