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Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) refer to bacteria that colonize the rhizosphere and contribute to plant growth or stress tolerance. To further understand the molecular mechanism by which PGPR exhibit symbiosis with plants, we performed a high-throughput single colony screening from the rhizosphere, and uncovered a bacterium (named promoting lateral root, PLR) that significantly promotes Arabidopsis lateral root formation. By 16S rDNA sequencing, PLR was identified as a novel sub-species of Serratia marcescens. RNA-seq analysis of Arabidopsis integrated with phenotypic verification of auxin signalling mutants demonstrated that the promoting effect of PLR on lateral root formation is dependent on auxin signalling. Furthermore, PLR enhanced tryptophan-dependent indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) synthesis by inducing multiple auxin biosynthesis genes in Arabidopsis. Genome-wide sequencing of PLR integrated with the identification of IAA and its precursors in PLR exudates showed that tryptophan treatment significantly enhanced the ability of PLR to produce IAA and its precursors. Interestingly, PLR induced the expression of multiple nutrient (N, P, K, S) transporter genes in Arabidopsis in an auxin-independent manner. This study provides evidence of how PLR enhances plant growth through fine-tuning auxin biosynthesis and signalling in Arabidopsis, implying a potential application of PLR in crop yield improvement through accelerating root development. © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


Chunlei Zhang, Zipeng Yu, Mengyue Zhang, Xiaoxuan Li, Mingjing Wang, Lixin Li, Xugang Li, Zhaojun Ding, Huiyu Tian. Serratia marcescens PLR enhances lateral root formation through supplying PLR-derived auxin and enhancing auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Journal of experimental botany. 2022 Jun 02;73(11):3711-3725

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PMID: 35196372

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