Crop Biotech Update

Genome Analysis of a Plant Growth-Promoting Bacillus

September 14, 2007

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens is a plant-associated bacterium that stimulates plant growth and produces secondary metabolites that suppress soil-borne plant pathogens. This bacterium, together with other rhizobacteria, is applied to a wide range of agricultural species to enhance growth, for example, by promoting seedling emergence, plant biomass and disease control. Little is known about the lifestyle and genetic make-up of this Bacillus. A new study published by the journal Nature Biotechnology reports the complete genome sequence of B. amyloliquefaciens and discusses the genes that may contribute to its plant associated life style.  

Genes responsible for signal proteins and compounds, detected by the plant during interaction, were identified. The authors also identified nine gene clusters coding for numerous antibiotics and biocontrol agents. Because of the relatively small size of B. amyloliquefaciens' genome, as well as its similarity to the well studied Bacillus subtilis, researchers are now considering the application of genetic manipulation to produce secondary metabolites for developing agrobiotechnological agents such as biopesticides and plant growth stimulator. The genome sequence will also be valuable in gaining insights on the complex plant-bacteria interactions.

Read the abstract at http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v25/n9/abs/nbt1325.html or the complete paper at  http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v25/n9/pdf/nbt1325.pdf.