Role of Bacillus subtilis exopolymeric genes in modulating rhizosphere microbiome assembly

Background Bacillus subtilis is well known for promoting plant growth and reducing abiotic and biotic stresses. Mutant gene-defective models can be created to understand important traits associated with rhizosphere fitness. This study aimed to analyze the role of exopolymeric genes in modulating tomato rhizosphere microbiome assembly under a gradient of soil microbiome diversities using the B. subtilis wild-type strain UD1022 and its corresponding mutant strain UD1022eps−TasA, which is defective in exopolysaccharide (EPS) and TasA protein production. Results qPCR revealed that the B. subtilis UD1022eps−TasA− strain has a diminished capacity to colonize tomato roots in soils with diluted microbial diversity. The analysis of bacterial β-diversity revealed significant differences in bacterial and fungal community structures following inoculation with either the wild-type or mutant B. subtilis strains. The Verrucomicrobiota, Patescibacteria, and Nitrospirota phyla were more enriched with the wild-type strain inoculation than with the mutant inoculation. Co-occurrence analysis revealed that when the mutant was inoculated in tomato, the rhizosphere microbial community exhibited a lower level of modularity, fewer nodes, and fewer communities compared to communities inoculated with wild-type B. subtilis. Conclusion This study advances our understanding of the EPS and TasA genes, which are not only important for root colonization but also play a significant role in shaping rhizosphere microbiome assembly. Future research should concentrate on specific microbiome genetic traits and their implications for rhizosphere colonization, coupled with rhizosphere microbiome modulation. These efforts will be crucial for optimizing PGPR-based approaches in agriculture.
This article was originally published in Environmental Microbiome. The version of record is available at: © The Author(s) 2024. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
PGPR, Bacillus subtilis, TasA, EPS, Dilution to extinction, Rhizosphere
Nishisaka, C.S., Ventura, J.P., Bais, H.P. et al. Role of Bacillus subtilis exopolymeric genes in modulating rhizosphere microbiome assembly. Environmental Microbiome 19, 33 (2024).