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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Contrasting patterns of microbial dominance in the Arabidopsis thaliana phyllosphere

Lundberg, Derek S.; Jove, Roger de Pedro; Ayutthaya, Pratchaya Pramoj Na; Karasov, Talia L.; Shalev, Or; Poersch, Karin; Ding, Wei; Bollmann-Giolai, Anita; Bezrukov, Ilja; Weigel, Detlef


Sphingomonas is one of the most abundant bacterial genera in the phyllosphere of wild Arabidopsis thaliana, but relative to Pseudomonas, the ecology of Sphingomonas and its interaction with plants is poorly described. We analyzed the genomic features of over 400 Sphingomonas isolates collected from local A. thaliana populations, which revealed much higher intergenomic diversity than for the considerably more uniform Pseudomonas isolates found in the same host populations. Variation in Sphingomonas plasmid complements and additional genomic features suggest high adaptability of this genus, and the widespread presence of protein secretion systems hints at frequent biotic interactions. While some of the isolates showed plant-protective phenotypes in lab tests, this was a rare trait. To begin to understand the extent of strain sharing across alternate hosts, we employed amplicon sequencing and a bulk-culturing metagenomics approach on both A. thaliana and neighboring plants. Our data reveal that both Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas thrive on other diverse plant hosts, but that Sphingomonas is a poor in or dead leaves.


Sphingomonas; Pseudomonas; phyllosphere; genomics; interactions

Published in

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2022, Volume: 119, number: 52, article number: e2211881119

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