Plant hormones have been recently shown to exert an indirect influence on the recruitment of plant-associated microbiomes. However, it remains unclear the extent to which the disruption of the ethylene (ET) signaling pathway affects the assembly and functioning of plant-root microbiomes. In this study, the Never-ripe tomato mutant (Nr) was profiled for differences compared to the wild type (control). Tomato plants were subjected to root exudate profiling and the characterization of bacterial and fungal communities. Compared to the control, Nr revealed differences in the composition of root exudates, including lower amounts of esculetin, gallic acid, L-fucose, eicosapentaenoic acid, and higher amounts of β-aldehyde. Interestingly, Nr significantly differed in the composition and functioning of the rhizosphere bacterial community. We also identified the taxa that occurred at relatively higher abundances in Nr, including the genus Lysobacter, which displayed a significant negative correlation with changes in eicosapentaenoic acid and esculetin, and a significant positive correlation with changes in β-aldehyde. Taken together, our study provides evidence that a mutation in the ET receptor exerts predictable changes in the root-associated microbial taxa of tomato plants. These indirect effects can potentially be explored towards new strategies to engineer beneficial plant microbiomes via targeted changes in plant genetics and physiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)