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Identifying genes that influence the ability of Rhodococcus to benefit plants Public Deposited

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  • Symbioses are intimate interactions between two different organisms. In a pathogenic interaction, one organism benefits and the other is generally harmed; whereas in a mutualistic interaction, the members reciprocally benefit. Rhodococcus is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria that persist in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Although better known as a pathogen, it has been suggested that hosts select for Rhodococcus because of the beneficial traits of the bacteria. We have demonstrated that Rhodococcus can cause beneficial changes to the root architecture of its host via increased proliferation of root hairs and lateral roots. Root hairs and lateral roots increase the interface between the host plant and soil and potentially enable the plant to efficiently uptake more water and dissolved nutrients and, ultimately, augment the host’s biomass production. This is consistent with previous studies that found virulence-gene-lacking isolates of Rhodococcus are ubiquitous in agricultural systems and commonly identified within the endophytic compartments and the rhizosphere of plants. The goal of my project is to develop a transposon mutant library within Rhodococcus to characterize the genes necessary for root hair proliferation. We will screen these mutants to evaluate for the ability to induce a beneficial phenotype on its host. This will allow us to further understand the processes by which Rhodococcus can benefit its host.
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  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
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  • This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture award 2014-51181-22384.
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  • Ongoing Research
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  • 2018-05-31 to 2020-07-02



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