Appl Environ Microbiol (Mar 1 2019)
Crown gall disease caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens severely impacts the production of peach and other fruit trees. Several peach cultivars are partially resistant to A. tumefaciens, but little is known about the roles of endophytic microbiota in disease resistance. In the present study, the endophytic bacterial communities of resistant and susceptible peach cultivars ‘Honggengansutao’ and ‘Okinawa’ were analyzed using universal 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing in parallel with cultivation and characterization of bacterial isolates. A total of 1,357,088 high-quality sequences representing 3,160 distinct OTUs (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes) and 1,200 isolates of 20 genera and 305 distinct ribotypes were collected from peach roots and twigs. It was found that factors including plant developmental stage, cultivar, and A. tumefaciens invasion strongly influenced the peach endophytic communities. The community diversity of endophytic bacteria and the abundance of culturable bacteria were both higher in the roots of the resistant cultivar, particularly after inoculation. Strikingly, the pathogen antagonists Streptomyces and Pseudomonas in roots and Rhizobium in twigs were most frequently detected in resistant plants. Our results suggest that the higher abundance and diversity of endophytic bacteria and increased proportions of antagonistic bacteria might contribute to the natural defense of the resistant cultivar against A. tumefaciens This work reveals the relationships between endophytic bacteria and disease resistance in peach plants, and provides important information for microbiome-based biocontrol of crown gall disease in fruit trees.IMPORTANCE Agrobacterium tumefaciens as the causal agent of peach crown gall disease can be controlled by planting resistant cultivars. This study profiles the endophytic bacteria in susceptible and resistant peach cultivars, advancing our understanding of the relationships between endophytic bacterial communities and peach crown gall disease, with potential implications for other complex microbiome-plant-pathogen interactions. The resistant cultivar may defend itself by increasing the diversity and abundance of beneficial endophytic bacteria. The antagonists identified among the genera Streptomyces, Pseudomonas, and Rhizobium may have application potential for biocontrol of crown gall disease in fruit trees.