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Plenary Lecture 9: Structure and functions of the bacterial phyllosphere microbiota

Thursday 11th September 2014 - 11:55 to 12:30
INI Seminar Room 1
The aerial parts of the plants, which are dominated by leaves, represent one of the largest terrestrial habitats for microorganisms. This habitat, called the phyllosphere, is occupied by a diverse community of microorganisms, which is important for plant health and growth. Most of the phyllosphere inhabitants are not well investigated; however, there is a growing interest to study commensal bacteria to elucidate their interactions with the plants, among each other and to learn how they withstand the hostile conditions of their habitat. A predominance of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes living in the phyllosphere of numerous plants has been revealed, while metagenomics and metaproteomics approaches gave insights into the general bacterial adaptation strategies to the phyllosphere. Complementary to these cultivation-independent approaches we established a comprehensive strain collection which covers a broad diversity of strains colonizing the model plant Arabido psis thaliana. Targeted studies with model strains allowed us to identify metabolic traits important for plant colonization and to uncover a novel bacterial regulatory system essential for plant colonization which is responsible for the general stress response in Alphaproteobacteria. The establishment of a gnotobiotic system led to the identification of plant probiotic effects of commensal bacteria and candidate genes for plant protection against bacterial pathogens. Moreover, the experimental system paired with synthetic bacterial communities helped identifying plant genes involved in shaping the bacterial community structure.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons