The wild legume engages in mutualistic symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Using plants grown in natural soil and community profiling of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and fungal internal transcribed spacers (ITSs), we examined the role of the symbiosis genes , , , and in structuring bacterial and fungal root-associated communities. We found host genotype-dependent community shifts in the root and rhizosphere compartments that were mainly confined to bacteria in or fungi in mutants, while and plants displayed major changes across both microbial kingdoms. We observed in all AM mutant roots an almost complete depletion of a large number of Glomeromycota taxa that was accompanied by a concomitant enrichment of Helotiales and Nectriaceae fungi, suggesting compensatory niche replacement within the fungal community. A subset of Glomeromycota whose colonization is strictly dependent on the common symbiosis pathway was retained in mutants, indicating that is dispensable for intraradical colonization by some Glomeromycota fungi. However, intraradical colonization by bacteria belonging to the and is dependent on AM root infection, revealing a microbial interkingdom interaction. Despite the overall robustness of the bacterial root microbiota against major changes in the composition of root-associated fungal assemblages, bacterial and fungal cooccurrence network analysis demonstrates that simultaneous disruption of AM and rhizobium symbiosis increases the connectivity among taxa of the bacterial root microbiota. Our findings imply a broad role for symbiosis genes in structuring the root microbiota and identify unexpected microbial interkingdom interactions between root symbionts and commensal communities. Studies on symbiosis genes in plants typically focus on binary interactions between roots and soilborne nitrogen-fixing rhizobia or mycorrhizal fungi in laboratory environments. We utilized wild type and symbiosis mutants of a model legume, grown in natural soil, in which bacterial, fungal, or both symbioses are impaired to examine potential interactions between the symbionts and commensal microorganisms of the root microbiota when grown in natural soil. This revealed microbial interkingdom interactions between the root symbionts and fungal as well as bacterial commensal communities. Nevertheless, the bacterial root microbiota remains largely robust when fungal symbiosis is impaired. Our work implies a broad role for host symbiosis genes in structuring the root microbiota of legumes.
PMID: 31594815 [PubMed - in process]