Integrated Microbiome and Metabolomic Analysis Reveal Responses of Rhizosphere Bacterial Communities and Root exudate Composition to Drought and Genotype in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Background As climate change events become more frequent, drought is an increasing threat to agricultural production and food security. Crop rhizosphere microbiome and root exudates are critical regulators for drought adaptation, yet our understanding on the rhizosphere bacterial communities and root exudate composition as afected by drought stress is far from complete. In this study, we performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and widely targeted metabolomic analysis of rhizosphere soil and root exudates from two contrasting rice genotypes (Nipponbare and Luodao 998) exposed to drought stress. Results A reduction in plant phenotypes was observed under drought, and the inhibition was greater for roots than for shoots. Additionally, drought exerted a negligible efect on the alpha diversity of rhizosphere bacterial communities, but obviously altered their composition. In particular, drought led to a signifcant enrichment of Actinobacteria but a decrease in Firmicutes. We also found that abscisic acid in root exudates was clearly higher under drought, whereas lower jasmonic acid and L-cystine concentrations. As for plant genotypes, variations in plant traits of the drought-tolerant genotype Luodao 998 after drought were smaller than those of Nipponbare. Interestingly, drought triggered an increase in Bacillus, as well as an upregulation of most organic acids and a downregulation of all amino acids in Luodao 998. Notably, both Procrustes analysis and Mantel test demonstrated that rhizosphere microbiome and root exudate metabolomic profles were highly correlated. A number of diferentially abundant genera responded to drought and genotype, including Streptomyces, Bacillus and some members of Actinobacteria, were signifcantly associated with organic acid and amino acid contents in root exudates. Further soil incubation experiments showed that Streptomyces was regulated by abscisic acid and jasmonic acid under drought. Conclusions Our results reveal that both drought and genotype drive changes in the compositions of rice rhizos phere bacterial communities and root exudates under the greenhouse condition, and that organic acid exudation and suppression of amino acid exudation to select specifc rhizosphere bacterial communities may be an important strategy for rice to cope with drought. These fndings have important implications for improving the adaptability of rice to drought from the perspective of plant–microbe interactions.