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Plant Growth Promotion by Spermidine-Producing Bacillus subtilis OKB105

July 2014 , Volume 27 , Number  7
Pages  655 - 663

Shan-Shan Xie, Hui-Jun Wu, Hao-Yu Zang, Li-Ming Wu, Qing-Qing Zhu, and Xue-Wen Gao

Department of Plant Pathology, College of Plant Protection, Nanjing Agricultural University, Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Crop Diseases and Pests, Ministry of Education, Nanjing 210095, PR China

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Accepted 14 March 2014.

The interaction between plants and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) is a complex, reciprocal process. On the one hand, plant compounds such as carbohydrates and amino acids serve as energy sources for PGPR. On the other hand, PGPR promote plant growth by synthesizing plant hormones and increasing mineral availability in the soil. Here, we evaluated the growth-promoting activity of Bacillus subtilis OKB105 and identified genes associated with this activity. The genes yecA (encoding a putative amino acid/polyamine permease) and speB (encoding agmatinase) are involved in the secretion or synthesis of polyamine in B. subtilis OKB105. Disruption of either gene abolished the growth-promoting activity of the bacterium, which was restored when polyamine synthesis was complemented. Moreover, high-performance liquid chromatography analysis of culture filtrates of OKB105 and its derivatives demonstrated that spermidine, a common polyamine, is the pivotal plant-growth-promoting compound. In addition, real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that treatment with B. subtilis OKB105 induced expansin gene (Nt-EXPA1 and Nt-EXPA2) expression and inhibited the expression of the ethylene biosynthesis gene ACO1. Furthermore, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis showed that the ethylene content in plant root cells decreased in response to spermidine produced by OKB105. Therefore, during plant interactions, OKB105 may produce and secrete spermidine, which induces expansin production and lowers ethylene levels.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society