Soil-inhabiting fungal pathogens use chemical signals released by roots to direct hyphal growth towards the host plant. Whether other soil microorganisms exploit this capacity for their own benefit is currently unknown. Here we show that the endophytic rhizobacterium Rahnella aquatilis locates hyphae of the root-infecting fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum through pH-mediated chemotaxis and uses them as highways to efficiently access and colonize plant roots. Secretion of gluconic acid (GlcA) by R. aquatilis in the rhizosphere leads to acidification and counteracts F. oxysporum-induced alkalinisation, a known virulence mechanism, thereby preventing fungal infection. Genetic abrogation or biochemical inhibition of GlcA-mediated acidification abolished biocontrol activity of R. aquatilis and restored fungal infection. These findings reveal a new way by which bacterial endophytes hijack hyphae of a fungal pathogen in the soil to gain preferential access to plant roots, thereby protecting the host from infection.

A bacterial endophyte exploits chemotropism of a fungal pathogen for plant colonization

Lima G.;
2020

Abstract

Soil-inhabiting fungal pathogens use chemical signals released by roots to direct hyphal growth towards the host plant. Whether other soil microorganisms exploit this capacity for their own benefit is currently unknown. Here we show that the endophytic rhizobacterium Rahnella aquatilis locates hyphae of the root-infecting fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum through pH-mediated chemotaxis and uses them as highways to efficiently access and colonize plant roots. Secretion of gluconic acid (GlcA) by R. aquatilis in the rhizosphere leads to acidification and counteracts F. oxysporum-induced alkalinisation, a known virulence mechanism, thereby preventing fungal infection. Genetic abrogation or biochemical inhibition of GlcA-mediated acidification abolished biocontrol activity of R. aquatilis and restored fungal infection. These findings reveal a new way by which bacterial endophytes hijack hyphae of a fungal pathogen in the soil to gain preferential access to plant roots, thereby protecting the host from infection.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11695/95319
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