Promotion mechanism of self-transmissible degradative plasmid transfer in maize rhizosphere and its application in naphthalene degradation in soil

Ming Xiao , Qiuyan Jiang , Wenwei Lu , Lei Zhang , Yeqing Jin , Yujing Wang , Jun Chen , Ziyi Ye


Received April 03, 2021,Revised , Accepted July 15, 2021, Available online August 07, 2021

Volume 34,2022,Pages 240-252

Rhizospheres can promote self-transmissible plasmid transfer, however, the corresponding mechanism has not received much attention. Plant-microbe remediation is an effective way to promote pollutant biodegradation; however, some pollutants, such as naphthalene, are harmful to plants and result in inefficient plant-microbe remediation. In this study, transfer of a TOL-like plasmid, a self-transmissible plasmid loaded with genetic determinants for pollutant degradation, among different bacteria was examined in bulk and rhizosphere soils as well as addition of maize root exudate and its artificial root exudate (ARE). The results showed that the numbers of transconjugants and recipients as well as bacterial metabolic activities, such as xylE mRNA expression levels and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase (C23O) activities of bacteria, remained high in rhizosphere soils, when compared with bulk soils. The number of transconjugants and bacterial metabolic activities increased with the increasing exudate and ARE concentrations, whereas the populations of donor and recipient bacteria were substantially unaltered at all concentrations. All the experiments consistently showed that a certain number of bacteria is required for self-transmissible plasmid transfer, and that the increased plasmid transfer might predominantly be owing to bacterial metabolic activity stimulated by root exudates and ARE. Furthermore, ARE addition increased naphthalene degradation by transconjugants in both culture medium and soil. Thus, the combined action of a wide variety of components in ARE might contribute to the increased plasmid transfer and naphthalene degradation. These findings suggest that ARE could be an effectively alternative for plant-microbe remediation of pollutants in environments where plants cannot survive.

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