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Nature Publishes Online Collaborative Research Results of HZAU and MSU

A research paper entitled "A plant genetic network for preventing dysbiosis in the phyllosphere" published online in Nature on Apr. 8th, 2020. Tao Chen, an associate professor of Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU), and kinya Nomura, a postdoctoral researcher of Michigan State University (MSU), are co-first authors of the paper, while Prof. Xin Xiufang from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Academician Shengyang He from MSU are co-corresponding authors.

The research is the first to explore the relationship between dysbiosis in the phyllosphere microbiota and plant health in new field of Plant Science. It shows that plant, like human beings, has evolved a genetic network for regulating microbiota to keep its health, in which some key elements and regulation are very similar to human.
Moreover, it found the key genes in the genetic network existed widely in plants. Therefore, in the near future by modification of these key genes, we could regulate or optimize microbiota to enhance plants’ health and resistance to stressful environment, thus boosting main crops yields and improving ecosystem for a better human life.
A previous research results published in Nature by Shengyang He’s team in 2016 revealed a new mechanism of Bacterial Infection in plants. Namely, bacteria could not only inhibit the immune system of plants, but also produce a humid environment, which was easy to cause plant diseases when plants were in high humidity.

Figure 1 Bacterial community in Col-0 and mfec

Based on Prof. He’s previous research and the symptoms of chlorosis and necrosis of Arabidopsis quadruple mutant (min7 fls2 efr cerk1; hereafter, mfec)in high humidity, Chen and her team used 16S rRNA gene segment amplification to detect leaf bacterial community and endophyte bacterial community of both Healthy leaves (wild-type, Col-0) and unhealthy leaves (mutant, mfec). They found that there was no significant difference in the diversity of the total microbiome community between healthy and unhealthy leaves, but great changes in the abundance and diversity of endophyte bacterial community. The diversity of endophyte bacterial community in unhealthy leaves decreased and transformed from Firmicute-rich to the Proteobacteria-rich (Figure 1).

Figure 2 A comparison between SynComCol-0 and SynCommfec

Besides, they constructed synthetic microbial community system(SynComCol-0 and SynCommfec)and explored the its function in aseptic planting research system. The results showed that dysbiosis in SynCommfec did lead to unhealthy plants (Figure 2).
Then, they made a further study on bacterial community transplantation. It demonstrated a causal role of a properly assembled leaf bacterial community in phyllosphere health. Pattern-triggered immune signalling, MIN7 and CAD1 were found in major land plant lineages and were probably key components of a genetic network through which terrestrial plants controlled the level and nurtured the diversity of endophytic phyllosphere microbiota for survival and health in a microorganism-rich environment.

Tao Chen and Kinya Nomura

This collaborative research was made by Dr. Tao Chen, Dr. Kinya Nomura and other researchers during Chen’s visit to Michigan State University. Partners & Participating Units are Michigan State University, Huazhong Agricultural University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences and University of Florida.
The research article:

Tao Chen, associate professor of Collage of Plant Sciences & Technology of HZAU, is mainly engaged in the interaction mechanism between plants and microorganisms. She is the first or corresponding author of 6 SCI papers and the participant author of another 6 SCI papers published in Journals like Plant Cell, Frontiers in Physiology, Frontiers in Microbiology, Scientific reports, Physiologia Plantarum, PNAS, PLoS Pathogens, Plant Physiology, and Plant Molecular Biology. She presided over 5 scientific research projects including NSFC(National Natural Science Foundation of China).

Translated by: Yang Ting
Supervised by: Zhang Juan



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