Efficient rhizosphere colonization by Pseudomonas fluorescens f113 mutants unable to form biofilms on abiotic surfacesemi_2291
Motility is a key trait for rhizosphere colonization by Pseudomonas fluorescens. Mutants with reduced motility are poor competitors, and hypermotile, more competitive phenotypic variants are selected in the rhizosphere. Flagellar motility is a feature associated to planktonic, free-living single cells, and although it is necessary for the initial steps of biofilm formation, bacteria in biofilm lack flagella. To test the correlation between biofilm formation and rhizosphere colonization, we have used P. fluorescens F113 hypermotile derivatives and mutants affected in regulatory genes which in other bacteria modulate biofilm development, namely gacS (G), sadB (S) and wspR (W). Mutants affected in these three genes and a hypermotile variant (V35) isolated from the rhizosphere were impaired in biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces, but colonized the alfalfa root apex as efficiently as the wild-type strain, indicating that biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces and rhizosphere colonization follow different regulatory pathways in P. fluorescens. Furthermore, a triple mutant gacSsadBwspR (GSW) and V35 were more competitive than the wild-type strain for root-tip colonization, suggesting that motility is more relevant in this environment than the ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces. Microscopy showed the same root colonization pattern for P. fluorescens F113 and all the derivatives: extensive microcolonies, apparently held to the rhizoplane by a mucigel that seems to be plant produced. Therefore, the ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces does not necessarily correlates with efficient rhizosphere colonization or competitive colonization.
La investigación fue financiada por las becas BIO2006-08596, BIO2009-08254 y BFU2007-64270 del Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICINN), así como por el programa de investigación MICROAMBIENTE-CM de la Comunidad de Madrid.
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