What is the Role of Archaea in Plants? New Insights from the Vegetation of Alpine Bogs

Julian Taffner, Armin Erlacher, Anastasia Bragina, Christian Berg, Christine Moissl-Eichinger, Gabriele Berg

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The Archaea represent a significant component of the plant microbiome, whereas their function is still unclear. Different plant species representing the natural vegetation of alpine bogs harbor a substantial archaeal community originating from five phyla, 60 genera, and 334 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). We identified a core archaeome for all bog plants and ecosystem-specific, so far unclassified Archaea. In the metagenomic data set, Archaea were found to have the potential to interact with plants by (i) possible plant growth promotion through auxin biosynthesis, (ii) nutrient supply, and (iii) protection against abiotic (especially oxidative and osmotic) stress. The unexpectedly high degree of plant specificity supports plant-archaeon interactions. Moreover, functional signatures of Archaea reveal genetic capacity for the interplay with fungi and an important role in the carbon and nitrogen cycle: e.g., CO2 and N2 fixation. These facts reveal an important, yet unobserved role of the Archaea for plants as well as for the bog ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00122-18
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018


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