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Active root-inhabiting microbes identified by rapid incorporation of plant-derived carbon into RNA

Vandenkoornhuyse, Phillipe; Mahe, Stephane; Ineson, Philip; Staddon, Phil; Ostle, Nick; Cliquet, Jean-Bernard; Francez, Andre-Jean; Fitter, Alastair H.; Young, J. Peter W.. 2007 Active root-inhabiting microbes identified by rapid incorporation of plant-derived carbon into RNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104 (43). 16970-16975. 10.1073/pnas.0705902104

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Abstract/Summary

Plant roots harbor a large diversity of microorganisms that have an essential role in ecosystem functioning. To better understand the level of intimacy of root-inhabiting microbes such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria, we provided 13CO2 to plants at atmospheric concentration during a 5-h pulse. We expected microbes dependent on a carbon flux from their host plant to become rapidly labeled. We showed that a wide variety of microbes occurred in roots, mostly previously unknown. Strikingly, the greatest part of this unsuspected diversity corresponded to active primary consumers. We found 17 bacterial phylotypes co-occurring within roots of a single plant, including five potentially new phylotypes. Fourteen phylotypes were heavily labeled with the 13C. Eight were phylogenetically close to Burkholderiales, which encompass known symbionts; the others were potentially new bacterial root symbionts. By analyzing unlabeled and 13C-enriched RNAs, we demonstrated differential activity in C consumption among these root-inhabiting microbes. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal RNAs were heavily labeled, confirming the high carbon flux from the plant to the fungal compartment, but some of the fungi present appeared to be much more active than others. The results presented here reveal the possibility of uncharacterized root symbioses.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1073/pnas.0705902104
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG01 Measuring and modelling trace gas, aerosol and carbon > BG01.2 Carbon
CEH Sections: Shore
Additional Keywords: ribosomal RNA, stable isotope probing, symbiosis, arbuscular mycorrhiza, endophytes
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 26 Mar 2008 15:59
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2437

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