Plant Microbe-Interfaces Aim 2

Molecular mechanisms underpinning the Populus-microbe interface

In Aim 2, we focus on confirming microbial functions related to plant performance and will elucidate at a molecular level how these functions may operate to impact Populus biology. We already have developed several tractable fungal and bacterial experimental systems to dissect molecular mechanisms involved in host recognition and root colonization. These studies will continue to be a focus in this phase of the study. In addition, we propose to characterize additional microbial functions that are likely to be important in plant-microbe interactions, including nutrient cycling and bacteria-host plant signaling. The results of experiments in Aim 2 will inform the constructed community studies in Aim 3, the goal of which is to predict and test how a community of microbes selected on the basis of predicted functions may influence plant growth and performance. An additional outcome of Aim 2 will be the development of microbial systems that can be genetically manipulated. This will provide a rich resource for testing the relative importance of selected functions in community structure, rhizosphere and endosphere survival, and plant growth.

Aim 2 Tasks