April 7, 2022 - 2:30 pm
April 7, 2022 - 3:30 pm
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A MECHANISM BY WHICH PLANTS ROOT EXUDATES RECRUIT RHIZOSPHERE BACTERIA TO THEIR MICROBIOME: A STORY FROM NEMATODE SUPPRESSION TO NEMATODE AGING
Keith G Davies, University of Hertfordshire, UK
7 April | 14:30 | ECUM auditorium
Endospores of the nematode hyperparasite from the Pasteuria group of Gram-positive bacteria have the potential to suppress phytonematode populations and reduce root infection. Parasitism by the bacteria commences when endospores adhere to the nematode cuticle before they germinate and infect the developing nematode, thereby prohibiting the nematode from producing eggs. Here we demonstrate that in a comparison between a Pasteuria endospore population that infects root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) and an endospore population that infects pigeon pea cyst nematodes (Heterodera cajani), as the nematodes age there is a similar reduction in endospore encumbrance on both nematode species. To test the hypothesis that multitrophic evolutionary theory would suggest that plants might recruit bacteria that reduce phytonematode root parasitism, we exposed the two phytonematode species to root exudates of hosts, poor hosts and non-hosts plants, and undertake standardised endospore encumbrance bioassays over a two-week aging period. The results showed that the normally expected reduction in endospore attachment due to aging was reduced when root-knot nematodes were exposed to root exudates from their host plants, cowpea and tomato, but not potato, whereas in the case of pigeon pea cyst nematode, the root-exudates from the homologous host plant, cowpea, also reduced the expected reduction in the decrease in endospore attachment due to aging. However, unexpectedly similar results were also produced by root exudates of the non-host, potato. These results are discussed in the light of the characterisation of the root-exudates by gas-liquid chromatography. It is concluded that signalling compounds present in root-exudates can affect cuticle aging both positively and negatively that in turn affects endospore attachment. However, the results are not strictly in line with what multitrophic interactions would have predicted.
Keith Davies graduated with a BSc in Applied Biology and then worked in Malawi as a plant pathologist on a World Bank Integrated Rural Development Project in the Shire Valley screening germplasm produced by International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Following a PhD in Plant Biology at the University of Wales Bangor, he moved to Rothamsted Research in 1986 to work on the biological control of nematodes and nematode immunodiagnostics. In 2009 he was awarded a BBSRC Fellowship to broaden his interests and spent a year in Oxford in the Hodgkin Lab investigating the use of Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for microbial pathogenicity. Currently he is an Associate Professor at the University of Hertfordshire where his research focuses on the ways that molecular diversity affects the etiology of host parasite population dynamics which is aimed at developing environmentally benign nematode management strategies.