Plant roots are colonized by an immense number of microbes, referred to as the root microbiome. Selected strains of beneficial soil-borne bacteria can protect against abiotic stress and prime the plant immune system against a broad range of pathogens. Pseudomonas spp. rhizobacteria represent one of the most abundant genera of the root microbiome. Here, by employing a germfree experimental system, we demonstrate the ability of selected Pseudomonas spp. strains to promote plant growth and drive developmental plasticity in the roots of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) by inhibiting primary root elongation and promoting lateral root and root hair formation. By studying cell type-specific developmental markers and employing genetic and pharmacological approaches, we demonstrate the crucial role of auxin signaling and transport in rhizobacteria-stimulated changes in the root system architecture of Arabidopsis. We further show that Pseudomonas spp.-elicited alterations in root morphology and rhizobacteria-mediated systemic immunity are mediated by distinct signaling pathways. This study sheds new light on the ability of soil-borne beneficial bacteria to interfere with postembryonic root developmental programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science