Nicotiana tabacum seed endophytic communities share a common core structure and genotype-specific signatures in diverging cultivars

Xiaoyulong Chen, Lisa Krug, Hong Yang, Haoxi Li, Maofa Yang, Gabriele Berg, Tomislav Cernava*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seed endophytes of crop plants have recently received increased attention due to their implications in plant health and the potential to be included in agro-biotechnological applications. While previous studies indicated that plants from the Solanaceae family harbor a highly diverse seed microbiome, genotype-specific effects on the community composition and structure remained largely unexplored. The present study revealed Enterobacteriaceae-dominated seed-endophytic communities in four Nicotiana tabacum L. cultivars originating from Brazil, China, and the USA. When the dissimilarity of bacterial communities was assessed, none of the cultivars showed significant differences in microbial community composition. Various unusual endophyte signatures were represented by Spirochaetaceae family members and the genera Mycobacterium, Clostridium, and Staphylococcus. The bacterial fraction shared by all cultivars was dominated by members of the phyla Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. In total, 29 OTUs were present in all investigated cultivars and accounted for 65.5% of the combined core microbiome reads. Cultivars from the same breeding line were shown to share a higher number of common OTUs than more distant lines. Moreover, the Chinese cultivar Yunyan 87 contained the highest number (33 taxa) of unique signatures. Our results indicate that a distinct proportion of the seed microbiome of N. tabacum remained unaffected by breeding approaches of the last century, while a substantial proportion co-diverged with the plant genotype. Moreover, they provide the basis to identify plant-specific endophytes that could be addressed for upcoming biotechnological approaches in agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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