Genomics and metabolomics of the cycad microbial phyllosphere
ID: 613 / 356
Proposed Symposium Title: Genomics and metabolomics of the cycad microbial phyllosphere
Juan Carlos Villarreal1, Lilisbeth Rodríguez2, Adriel Sierra1, Marta Vargas3, Rita Bethancourt4, Ariadna Bethancourt4, Marta Alonso García1, Brian Sedio5 & Kristin Saltonstall3
Affiliations: 1 Department of Biology, Université Laval, Québec, Canada 2 Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá 3 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Ancón, Panamá 4 Universidad de Panamá, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Panamá 5 University of Austin, Texas, United States
Plant-microbe interactions are important factors influencing host fitness. Cycads are known for persisting in habitats under low nutrient availability due to their capacity to harbor a diverse symbiotic microbiome, with most studies focused on their coralloid roots. The leaf endophyte microbiota of cycads remains largely unexplored, as is their potential beneficial interactions with the host. Here we investigate how plant-microbe interactions mediate foliar secondary metabolite composition in Zamia species from Panama. By integrating microbial metabarcoding (16S, ITS), genomic and untargeted metabolomics techniques, we characterize the leaf bacterial and fungal microbial community alpha- and beta-diversity in phylogenetically related Zamia species with contrasting habitats (terrestrial vs epiphytic), distinct herbivory pressures and relate specific leaf endophytes to host metabolite composition. We recovered a number of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterial lineages in the cycad endo and exo-phyllosphere raising questions about the functional redundancy of nitrogen fixers in cycads. In addition, we provide comparative transcriptomic and metabolomic evidence of the impact of elevated temperature in cycads. Our studies pave the way to further work on the role of the microbes inhabiting cycad phyllosphere and potential responses to future climatic scenarios.