PGPR Shewanella putrefaciens and Cronobacter dublinensis enhance drought tolerance of pearl millet by modulating hormones and stress‐responsive genes

Physiologia Plantarum(2022)

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摘要
Drought is a major abiotic stress that affects crop productivity. Endophytic bacteria have been found to alleviate the adverse effects of drought on plants. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of two endophytic bacteria Shewanella putrefaciens strain MCL-1 and Cronobacter dublinensis strain MKS-1 on pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) under drought stress conditions. Pearl millet plants were grown under three water levels: field capacity (FC), mild drought stress (MD), and severe drought stress (SD). The effects of inoculation on plant growth, physiological attributes, phytohormone content, and drought stress-responsive genes were assessed. The inoculation of pearl millet seeds with endophytes significantly improved shoot and root dry weight and root architecture of plants grown under FC and drought stress conditions. There was a significant increase in relative water content and proline accumulation in the inoculated plants. Among the phytohormones analyzed, the content of ABA and IAA was significantly higher in endophyte-treated plants under all moisture regimes than in uninoculated plants. C. dublinensis-inoculated plants had higher GA content than uninoculated plants under all moisture regimes. The expression level of genes involved in phytohormone biosynthesis (SbNCED, SbGA20oX, and SbYUC) and coding drought-responsive transcription factors (SbAP2, SbSNAC1 and PgDREB2A) was significantly higher under SD in endophyte-inoculated plants than in uninoculated plants. Thus, these endophytic bacteria presumably enhanced the tolerance of pearl millet to drought stress by modulating root growth, plant hormones, physiology and the expression of genes involved in drought tolerance.
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