Plant growth promotion by Pseudomonas fluorescens: mechanisms, genes and regulation

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Pseudomonas fluorescens is a Gram-negative rod shaped bacterium that has a versatile metabolism and is widely spread in soil and water. P. fluorescens strain SBW25 (Pf.SBW25) is a well-known model strain to study bacterial evolution, plant colonization and biocontrol of plant diseases. It produces the biosurfactant viscosin, a lipopeptide that plays a key role in motility, biofilm formation and activity against zoospores of Phytophthora infestans and other oomycete pathogens. In addition to viscosin, Pf.SBW25 produces other metabolites with activity against plant pathogens. The production of these yet unknown metabolites appeared to be regulated by the GacS/GacA two-component regulatory system (the Gac-system). The second P. fluorescens strain SS101 (Pf.SS101) studied in this thesis is known for its plant growth-promoting activities but the underlying mechanisms and genes are largely unknown. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to identify novel metabolites and biosynthetic genes in Pf.SBW25 and Pf.SS101, and to investigate their role in plant growth promotion and biocontrol. To this end, a multidisciplinary approach involving bioinformatic analysis of the genome sequences of strains Pf.SBW25 and Pf.SS101, microarray-based expression profiling, screening of genomic libraries, bioactivity assays, mass spectrometric image analysis (MALDI-IMS) and GC/MSMS analysis was adopted. In conclusion, we showed that the GacS/GacA two-component system as a global regulator of the expression of genes play important roles in antagonism of Pseudomonas fluorescens toward plant pathogenic microbes as well as in plant growth promotion and ISR. Growth promotion by P. fluorescens is associated with alterations in auxin biosynthesis and transport, steroid biosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism and sulfur assimilation. Moreover, advanced chemical profiling allowed us to compare the metabolite profiles of free-living P. fluorescens and P. fluorescens living in association with plant roots. A better understanding of yet unknown mechanisms exploited by the various Pseudomonas fluorescens strains will lead to new opportunities for the discovery and application of natural bioactive compounds for both industrial and agricultural purposes.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Govers, Francine, Promotor
  • Raaijmakers, J.M., Promotor, External person
  • van der Voort, M., Co-promotor, External person
Award date19 Sep 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462578753
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • soil bacteria
  • pseudomonas fluorescens
  • plants
  • growth stimulators
  • soil suppressiveness
  • plant diseases
  • induced resistance
  • biochemistry
  • biosynthesis
  • plant-microbe interactions
  • transcriptomics

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