Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2019) 30: 17-38.

Role of Plasmids in Plant-Bacteria Interactions

Jasper Schierstaedt, Nina Bziuk, Nemanja Kuzmanović, Khald Blau, Kornelia Smalla and Sven Jechalke

Plants are colonized by diverse microorganisms, which may positively or negatively influence the plant fitness. The positive impact includes nutrient acquisition, enhancement of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, both important factors for plant growth and survival, while plant pathogenic bacteria can cause diseases. Plant pathogens are adapted to negate or evade plant defense mechanisms, e.g. by the injection of effector proteins into the host cells or by avoiding the recognition by the host. Plasmids play an important role in the rapid bacterial adaptation to stresses and changing environmental conditions. In the plant environment, plasmids can further provide a selective advantage for the host bacteria, e.g. by carrying genes encoding metabolic pathways, metal and antibiotic resistances, or pathogenicity-related genes. However, we are only beginning to understand the role of mobile genetic elements and horizontal gene transfer for plant-associated bacteria. In this review, we aim to provide a short update on what is known about plasmids and horizontal gene transfer of plant associated bacteria and their role in plant-bacteria interactions. Furthermore, we discuss tools available to study the plant-associated mobilome, its transferability, and its bacterial hosts.

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