Induced secretion system mutation alters rhizosphere bacterial composition in Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench

Vimal Kumar Balasubramanian, Lavanya Dampanaboina, Christopher Joseph Cobos, Ning Yuan, Zhanguo Xin, Venugopal Mendu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    Main conclusion: A novel inducible secretion system mutation in Sorghum named Red root has been identified. The mutant plant root exudes pigmented compounds that enriches Actinobacteria in its rhizosphere compared to BTx623. Abstract: Favorable plant–microbe interactions in the rhizosphere positively influence plant growth and stress tolerance. Sorghum bicolor, a staple biomass and food crop, has been shown to selectively recruit Gram-positive bacteria (Actinobacteria) in its rhizosphere under drought conditions to enhance stress tolerance. However, the genetic/biochemical mechanism underlying the selective enrichment of specific microbial phyla in the sorghum rhizosphere is poorly known due to the lack of available mutants with altered root secretion systems. Using a subset of sorghum ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutant lines, we have isolated a novel Red root (RR) mutant with an increased accumulation and secretion of phenolic compounds in roots. Genetic analysis showed that RR is a single dominant mutation. We further investigated the effect of root-specific phenolic compounds on rhizosphere microbiome composition under well-watered and water-deficit conditions. The microbiome diversity analysis of the RR rhizosphere showed that Actinobacteria were enriched significantly under the well-watered condition but showed no significant change under the water-deficit condition. BTx623 rhizosphere showed a significant increase in Actinobacteria under the water-deficit condition. Overall, the rhizosphere of RR genotype retained a higher bacterial diversity and richness relative to the rhizosphere of BTx623, especially under water-deficit condition. Therefore, the RR mutant provides an excellent genetic resource for rhizosphere-microbiome interaction studies as well as to develop drought-tolerant lines. Identification of the RR gene and the molecular mechanism through which the mutant selectively enriches microbial populations in the rhizosphere will be useful in designing strategies for improving sorghum productivity and stress tolerance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number33
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 2021


    • EMS mutant
    • Induced secretion system
    • Microbiome
    • Red root
    • Rhizosphere
    • Root exudates


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