The Genome Of The Endophytic Bacterium H. Frisingense GSF30T Identifies Diverse Strategies In The Herbaspirillum Genus To Interact With Plants
Microbes whose habitat is inside other organisms, such as so-called “endophytic” bacteria that live inside plants, have evolved genes that enable them to overcome their host’s defensive mechanisms. But once they have entered the host tissue, such microbes may actually benefit their host, for example, by activating genes that capture atmospheric nitrogen and turn it into natural fertilizer to promote plant growth.
Daniel Straub and colleagues from the University of Hohenheim and the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, Germany, found that the genomic “toolbox” of the endophytic bacterium H. frisingense, which lives inside grasses, is very different from the toolbox of its closest relatives: unlike other Herbaspirillum species, H. frisingense can fix atmospheric nitrogen to benefits its host, and also uses very different molecular pathways and metabolic modules to enter and survive in host cells.
These results can help to identity endophytic bacteria that can be added to soil to improve the yield of crops, without posing a risk to human health or to the environment.