Country of Origin: Germany
Start of PhD: February 2009
Institution: MPI CE
Microbial Interactions relevant for the fitness of Nicotiana attenuata in the native environment
Baldwin (MPI CE),
E. Kothe (FSU)
Microorganisms play an important role in most ecosystems. They are responsible for many diseases,
but can also be beneficial or even essential for the fitness of many organisms. Rhizobacteria are
abundant symbiotic partners of plants. They are known for their importance during the growth of
plants and many so called plant-growth-promoting-bacteria (PGPB) have been identified. The wild
tobacco Nicotiana attenuata inhabits the southwestern deserts of the United States and growths in
hot and dry post-fire environments. The plant has to balance quick growth and strong defense utilizing
the limited resources. Many ecological interactions have been studied for years, but yet the microbial
influence on the plant has not been adequate analyzed.
Therefore plant-strain have been constructed overexpressing anti-microbial-proteins (AMP).
These plants should have a greater resistance against pathogenic bacteria , but will also
interfere with beneficial rhizosphere inhabiting bacteria. In this plant the balance between
repelling pathogens and harming symbionts will be corrupted and the effect on the growth and the
total fitness will be studied. Goal of this work is to characterize the microbial community and
study its total fitness influence for Nicotiana attenuata in the wild.
- Gase K, Weinhold A, Bozorov T, Schuck S, Baldwin
IT (2011) Efficient screening of transgenic plant lines for
ecological research. Mol Ecol Resour 11(5):890-902.