Structure and function of the bacterial root microbiota in wild and domesticated barley

Davide Bulgarelli, Ruben Garrido-Oter, Philipp C. Münch, Aaron Weiman, Johannes Dröge, Yao Pan, Alice C. McHardy (Lead / Corresponding author), Paul Schulze-Lefert (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    892 Citations (Scopus)


    The microbial communities inhabiting the root interior of healthy plants, as well as the rhizosphere, which consists of soil particles firmly attached to roots, engage in symbiotic associations with their host. To investigate the structural and functional diversification among these communities, we employed a combination of 16S rRNA gene profiling and shotgun metagenome analysis of the microbiota associated with wild and domesticated accessions of barley (Hordeum vulgare). Bacterial families Comamonadaceae, Flavobacteriaceae, and Rhizobiaceae dominate the barley root-enriched microbiota. Host genotype has a small, but significant, effect on the diversity of root-associated bacterial communities, possibly representing a footprint of barley domestication. Traits related to pathogenesis, secretion, phage interactions, and nutrient mobilization are enriched in the barley root-associated microbiota. Strikingly, protein families assigned to these same traits showed evidence of positive selection. Our results indicate that the combined action of microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions drives microbiota differentiation at the root-soil interface.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)392-403
    Number of pages12
    JournalCell Host & Microbe
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Immunology and Microbiology
    • Cancer Research
    • Molecular Biology


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