Salinity is a major abiotic stress threatening crop production. Root-derived bacteria (RDB) are hypothesized to play a role in enhancing plant adaptability to various stresses. However, it is still unclear whether and how plants build up specific RDB when challenged by salinity. In this study, we measured the composition and variation in the rhizosphere and endophyte bacteria of salt-sensitive (SSs) and salt-resistant (SRs) plants under soil conditions with/without salinity. The salt-induced RDB (both rhizobiomes and endophytes) were isolated to examine their effects on the physiological responses of SSs and SRs to salinity challenge. Moreover, we examined whether functional redundancy exists among salt-induced RDB in enhancing plant adaptability to salt stress. We observed that although SSs and SRs recruited distinct RDB and relevant functions when challenged by salinity, salt-induced recruitment of specific RDB led to a consistent growth promotion in plants regardless of their salinity tolerance capacities. Plants employed a species-specific strategy to recruit beneficial soil bacteria in the rhizosphere rather than in the endosphere. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the consortium, but not individual members of the salt-induced RDB, provided enduring resistance against salt stress. This study confirms the critical role of salt-induced RDB in enhancing plant adaptability to salt stress.
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All raw amplicon reads can be found in the NCBI database and the SRA accession numbers SRP267882, SRP268035, SRP268033, SRP268020, and SRP295317.
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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 31772358), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2019YFD1001903), the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-23), and the Key Research and Development Program of Ningxia (2019BBF02012-02).
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Li, H., La, S., Zhang, X. et al. Salt-induced recruitment of specific root-associated bacterial consortium capable of enhancing plant adaptability to salt stress. ISME J (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-021-00974-2