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Enhanced Control of Plant Wilt Disease by a Xylose-Inducible degQ Gene Engineered into Bacillus velezensis Strain SQR9XYQ

Xu, Zhihui, Xie, Jiyu, Zhang, Huihui, Wang, Dandan, Shen, Qirong, Zhang, Ruifu
Phytopathology 2019 v.109 no.1 pp. 36-43
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, antibiotics, biofilm, biological control, cucumbers, genetically engineered microorganisms, greenhouse experimentation, phosphorylation, plant growth, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rhizosphere, root exudates, roots, signal transduction, tomatoes, xylose
Bacillus velezensis SQR9 (former B. amyloliquefaciens SQR9) is a plant-growth-promoting rhizobacterium (PGPR) that promotes plant growth and health. The colonization of PGPR strains along plant roots is a prerequisite for them to execute their specific functions. However, one problem of microbial introduction in practice is that the applied PGPR strains do not always successfully colonize the rhizosphere. In Bacillus spp., two-component signal transduction system (TCS) DegS/U regulates flagellar motility, biofilm formation and antibiotic production. Phosphorylation of DegU by DegS is positively affected by DegQ protein. In this study, we constructed a xylose-inducible degQ genetically engineered strain SQR9XYQ to improve the biocontrol activity. The results from in vitro, root in situ, greenhouse experiments and RT-qPCR studies demonstrate that (i) the phosphorylation of DegU in SQR9XYQ can be gradually activated by xylose, which is a component of both cucumber and tomato root exudates, and (ii) biofilm formation, antibiotic expression, colonization activity, and biocontrol efficiency were improved in SQR9XYQ compared with the wild-type strain SQR9. These results suggest that colonization trait is important to biocontrol strains for maintenance of plant health.