Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Immune signals shape root communities

Sci. Signal.  25 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 391, pp. ec242
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad2812

To thwart microbial pathogens aboveground, the plant Arabidopsis turns on defensive signaling using salicylic acid. In Arabidopsis plants with modified immune systems, Lebeis et al. show that bacterial communities change in response to salicylic acid signaling in the root zone as well (see the Perspective by Haney and Ausubel). Abundance of some root-colonizing bacterial families increased at the expense of others, partly as a function of whether salicylic acid was used as an immune signal or as a carbon source for microbial growth.

S. L. Lebeis, S. Herrera Paredes, D. S. Lundberg, N. Breakfield, J. Gehring, M. McDonald, S. Malfatti, T. Glavina del Rio, C. D. Jones, S. G. Tringe, J. L. Dangl, Salicylic acid modulates colonization of the root microbiome by specific bacterial taxa. Science 349, 860–864 (2015). [Abstract][Full Text]

C. H. Haney, F. M. Ausubel, Plant microbiome blueprints. Science 349, 788–789 (2015). [Summary][Full Text]