Microbe-induced drought tolerance by ABA-mediated root architecture and epigenetic reprogramming

Khairiah M. Alwutayd, Anamika A. Rawat, Arsheed H. Sheikh, Marilia Almeida-Trapp, Alaguraj Veluchamy, Rewaa Jalal, Michael Karampelias, Katja Froehlich, Waad Alzaed, Naheed Tabassum, Thayssa Rabelo Schley, Anton R. Schäffner, Ihsanullah Daur, Maged M. Saad, Heribert Hirt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The use of beneficial microbes to mitigate drought stress tolerance of plants is of great potential albeit little understood. We show here that a root endophytic desert bacterium, Pseudomonas argentinensis strain SA190, enhances drought stress tolerance in Arabidopsis. Transcriptome and genetic analysis demonstrate that SA190-induced root morphogenesis and gene expression is mediated via the plant abscisic acid (ABA) pathway. Moreover, we demonstrate that SA190 primes the promoters of target genes in an epigenetic ABA-dependent manner. Application of SA190 priming on crops is demonstrated for alfalfa, showing enhanced performance under drought conditions. In summary, a single beneficial root bacterial strain can help plants to resist drought conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56754
JournalEMBO reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by a grant to HH from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology BAS/1/1062‐01‐01. We thank Pedro Rodriguez for providing and q mutants. We thank KAUST core lab facility for RNA seq and hormone measurement processes. We thank Dr. Sabiha Parveen for helping with data uploading. We would like to thank all members of the Hirt lab for useful discussion. aba2‐1 pylpyr

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY NC ND 4.0 license.


  • ABA
  • drought stress
  • H3K4me3
  • microbiome
  • water use efficiency (WUE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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