Research Topic

Cooperative adaptation and evolution in plant-microbe systems

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The ecological and evolutionary genetics of plant-microbe cooperation is of high importance for developing plant science since these plants originated symbiotically (via incorporation of a phototrophic cyanobacterium into a heterotrophic eukaryon). They have further evolved as the multipartite symbiotic ...

The ecological and evolutionary genetics of plant-microbe cooperation is of high importance for developing plant science since these plants originated symbiotically (via incorporation of a phototrophic cyanobacterium into a heterotrophic eukaryon). They have further evolved as the multipartite symbiotic systems; harboring the enormously diverse microbial communities. The colonization of land by plants occurred due to the close cooperation with Glomeromycotan fungi and the bacterial associates, which provided the hosts with the important nutritional (N2 fixation and mobilization of soil nutrients), protective (synthesis of antibiotics/toxins suppressing pathogens and herbivores) and growth regulatory functions.

The well studied mutualistic (legume N2-fixing nodules, arbuscular mycorrhizae) and antagonistic (biotrophic, necrotrophic) interactions represents only a minor part of symbioses between plants and associated microbial communities. The endophytic and epiphytic microbiomes composed by diverse bacteria and fungi, exceed their hosts greatly in regards to the volume of encoded genetic information that can be potentially useful for extending the plant ecological amplitude to improve crop production. A variety of molecular interactions (partners’ exchange by signals and nutrients, development of symbiosis-specific cellular/tissue structures) constitute the plant-microbe holobionts, which possess the integrated genetic systems (hologenomes) to provide the evolutionary strategies and adaptive potential that is not available for free-living organisms. These holobionts are saturated with the plant-and microbe-associated viruses, which not only induce disease development, but also facilitate the inter-kingdom gene exchange that can improve plant fitness. This Research Topic is aimed to integrate research on the genetic interactions of plant-microbial associations that are required to develop the novel evolutionary approaches in the molecular and ecological genetics of symbioses.

In this Research Topic, we will address the specific two-partite plant-bacteria and plant-fungi symbioses. As well as the multipartite interactions of plants with associated microbiomes studied at the molecular, cellular, organism and community levels. This broad approach will enable us to demonstrate the role of plants as the evolutionary drivers of associated microbial communities extending their genetic diversity, and even facilitating the evolution of novel microbial genotypes with the increased host-beneficial activities.

The papers to be published within the Topic would contribute to a broad range of fundamental and applied topic including (but not limited to): 1. Natural histories of plant-microbial associations addressed at the molecular, genetic, phylogenomic and community levels; 2. Horizontal gene transfer between plants and microorganisms; 3. Cooperative plant-microbe adaptations for the sustainable (non-chemical) agriculture; 4. Microbial-induced tissue/cell remodeling in symbiotically-induced plant development. 5. Cross-talk between mechanisms of microbial-induced resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses


Keywords: plant-microbe interactions, ecological genetics, coadaptation, coevolution, horizontal gene transfer


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