Genome Insights of the Plant-Growth Promoting Bacterium Cronobacter muytjensii JZ38 With Volatile-Mediated Antagonistic Activity Against Phytophthora infestans.

Abdul Aziz Eida, Salim Bougouffa, Floriane L’Haridon, Intikhab Alam, Laure Weisskopf, Vladimir B. Bajic, Maged M. Saad, Heribert Hirt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Salinity stress is a major challenge to agricultural productivity and global food security in light of a dramatic increase of human population and climate change. Plant growth promoting bacteria can be used as an additional solution to traditional crop breeding and genetic engineering. In the present work, the induction of plant salt tolerance by the desert plant endophyte Cronobacter sp. JZ38 was examined on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana using different inoculation methods. JZ38 promoted plant growth under salinity stress via contact and emission of volatile compounds. Based on the 16S rRNA and whole genome phylogenetic analysis, fatty acid analysis and phenotypic identification, JZ38 was identified as Cronobacter muytjensii and clearly separated and differentiated from the pathogenic C. sakazakii. Full genome sequencing showed that JZ38 is composed of one chromosome and two plasmids. Bioinformatic analysis and bioassays revealed that JZ38 can grow under a range of abiotic stresses. JZ38 interaction with plants is correlated with an extensive set of genes involved in chemotaxis and motility. The presence of genes for plant nutrient acquisition and phytohormone production could explain the ability of JZ38 to colonize plants and sustain plant growth under stress conditions. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles produced by JZ38 revealed the emission of indole and different sulfur volatile compounds that may play a role in contactless plant growth promotion and antagonistic activity against pathogenic microbes. Indeed, JZ38 was able to inhibit the growth of two strains of the phytopathogenic oomycete Phytophthora infestans via volatile emission. Genetic, transcriptomic and metabolomics analyses, combined with more in vitro assays will provide a better understanding the highlighted genes’ involvement in JZ38’s functional potential and its interaction with plants. Nevertheless, these results provide insight into the bioactivity of C. muytjensii JZ38 as a multi-stress tolerance promoting bacterium with a potential use in agriculture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - Mar 28 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank all members of the Hirt lab, CDA management team, and KAUST Core Labs for the technical assistance and for their help in many aspects of this work. We would also like to thank Abhishek Anand for his input on the GC/MS analysis and Dr. Cristina Andrés Barrao for her input on the fatty acid analysis.


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