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Microbiological Research
Volume 248, 2021, 126752

Insights into the multitrophic interactions between the biocontrol agent Bacillus subtilis MBI 600, the pathogen Botrytis cinerea and their plant host

Anastasios Samarasa, George S.Karaoglanidisa, Georgios Tzelepisb

Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Abstract

Botrytis cinerea is a plant pathogen causing the gray mold disease in a plethora of host plants. The control of the disease is based mostly on chemical pesticides, which are responsible for environmental pollution, while they also pose risks for human health. Furthermore, B. cinerea resistant isolates have been identified against many fungicide groups, making the control of this disease challenging. The application of biocontrol agents can be a possible solution, but requires deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms in order to be effective. In this study, we investigated the multitrophic interactions between the biocontrol agent Bacillus subtilis MBI 600, a new commercialized biopesticide, the pathogen B. cinerea and their plant host. Our analysis showed that this biocontrol agent reduced B. cinerea mycelial growth in vitro, and was able to suppress the disease incidence on cucumber plants. Moreover, treatment with B. subtilis led to induction of genes involved in plant immunity. RNA-seq analysis of B. cinerea transcriptome upon exposure to bacterial secretome, showed that genes coding for MFS and ABC transporters were highly induced. Deletion of the Bcmfs1 MFS transporter gene, using a CRISP/Cas9 editing method, affected its virulence and the tolerance of B. cinerea to bacterial secondary metabolites. These findings suggest that specific detoxification transporters are involved in these interactions, with crucial role in different aspects of B. cinerea physiology.

Keywords: ABC transporters, Biocontrol, Fungal-bacterial interactions, MFS transporters.

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