Bacterial adaptation to life in association with plants – A proteomic perspective from culture to in situ conditions

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Abstract

Diverse bacterial taxa that live in association with plants affect plant health and development. This is most evident for those bacteria that undergo a symbiotic association with plants or infect the plants as pathogens. Proteome analyses have contributed significantly toward a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of these associations. They were applied to obtain a general overview of the protein composition of these bacteria, but more so to study effects of plant signaling molecules on the cytosolic proteome composition or metabolic adaptations upon plant colonization. Proteomic analyses are particularly useful for the identification of secreted proteins, which are indispensable to manipulate a host plant. Recent advances in the field of proteome analyses have initiated a new research area, the analysis of more complex microbial communities. Such studies are just at their beginning but hold great potential for the future to elucidate not only the interactions between bacteria and their host plants, but also of bacteria–bacteria interactions between different bacterial taxa when living in association with plants. These include not only the symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria, but also the commensal bacteria that are consistently found in association with plants and whose functions remain currently largely uncovered.

Ancillary