A plant genetic network for preventing dysbiosis in the phyllosphere.


The aboveground parts of terrestrial plants, collectively called the phyllosphere, have a key role in the global balance of atmospheric carbon dioxide and oxygen. The phyllosphere represents one of the most abundant habitats for microbiota colonization. Whether and how plants control phyllosphere microbiota to ensure plant health is not well understood. Here we show that the Arabidopsis quadruple mutant (min7 fls2 efr cerk1; hereafter, mfec)1, simultaneously defective in pattern-triggered immunity and the MIN7 vesicle-trafficking pathway, or a constitutively activated cell death1 (cad1) mutant, carrying a S205F mutation in a membrane-attack-complex/perforin (MACPF)-domain protein, harbour altered endophytic phyllosphere microbiota and display leaf-tissue damage associated with dysbiosis. The Shannon diversity index and the relative abundance of Firmicutes were markedly reduced, whereas Proteobacteria were enriched in the mfec and cad1S205F mutants, bearing cross-kingdom resemblance to some aspects of the dysbiosis that occurs in human inflammatory bowel disease. Bacterial community transplantation experiments demonstrated a causal role of a properly assembled leaf bacterial community in phyllosphere health. Pattern-triggered immune signalling, MIN7 and CAD1 are found in major land plant lineages and are probably key components of a genetic network through which terrestrial plants control the level and nurture the diversity of endophytic phyllosphere microbiota for survival and health in a microorganism-rich environment.





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Publication Info

Chen, Tao, Kinya Nomura, Xiaolin Wang, Reza Sohrabi, Jin Xu, Lingya Yao, Bradley C Paasch, Li Ma, et al. (2020). A plant genetic network for preventing dysbiosis in the phyllosphere. Nature, 580(7805). pp. 653–657. 10.1038/s41586-020-2185-0 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21718.

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Reza Sohrabi

Postdoctoral Associate

Sheng-Yang He

Benjamin E. Powell Distinguished Professor of Biology

Interested in the fascinating world of plants, microbes or inter-organismal communication and co-evolution? Please contact Prof. Sheng-Yang He (shengyang.he@duke.edu; hes@msu.edu).

Millions of years of co-evolution between plants and microbes have resulted in an intricate web of attack, counter-attack, decoy, and hijacking mechanisms in biology. Moreover, co-evolution between plants and microbes is greatly impacted by ongoing climate change. In our lab, we probe “host-microbe-climate” interactions to answer the following fundamental questions: (1) How do microbial pathogens infect a susceptible host? (2) How do plants select beneficial microbiomes to ensure health? (3) How do climate conditions impact disease and immunity?      

We use contemporary methods to address these questions, including those commonly used in molecular genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell biology, bioinformatics, microbiology, plant biology, co-evolution and infectious disease biology.    

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