Differences in the rhizosphere bacterial community of a transplastomic tobacco plant compared to its non-engineered counterpart
Institute of Agroecology, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL),
Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Cultivation-independent analyses were carried out to compare the bacterial community structure found in the rhizospheres of a transplastomic tobacco plant carrying the antibiotic resistance marker-gene aadA and its non-engineered parental line. PCR- and reverse transcriptase PCR-amplifications of 16S rRNA and their corresponding genes were carried out with primers targeting the domain Bacteria. The diversity of PCR-products amplified from total nucleic acids extracted from rhizospheres of 10-week-old plants, which had been grown in potting soil in the greenhouse, was visualized by genetic profiling using the single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) technique. The SSCP profiles generated from DNA extracted with two different protocols, one including total RNA and the other only DNA, did not show any differences. The SSCP profiles amplified from RNA and DNA were also highly similar to each other, indicating that the dominant bacteria detected were metabolically active. High similarities were seen between the SSCP profiles from the transplastomic and the non-engineered plants, except for a single band that consistently occurred with samples from the non-engineered plants (six replicates), but not, or only weakly, with their engineered counterparts. DNA sequencing and database analysis revealed that the partial rRNA gene matched to a Flavobacterium sp. Other bands of the SSCP-profiles, related to Burkholderia and Bordetella were variable between individual plants but not affected by the transplastomic modification. Thus, the transplastomic modification caused a relative decline of a specific Flavobacterium population but not of other bacteria. Further studies including additional tobacco cultivars, soils and conditions of cultivation would be desirable, to elucidate the ecological importance of this difference.
Key words: rhizosphere / transplastomic plants / Nicotiana tabacum / bacterial community / rRNA genes / rRNA / SSCP
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