Structure, Dynamics and Function of Rhizobacterial Genomes

This sub-line is focused in the study of the genomes of rhizosphere colonizing bacteria, through the following approaches: • Genetic and functional diversity of bacteria interacting with plants. The study of the genetic repertoire of rhizobacteria will be approached with the aid of novel high throughput sequencing technologies. First, suppression subtractive hybridization, multiple strain sequencing and genome comparisons will be conducted to characterize the genome of the nitrogen-fixing endosymbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti. Second, metagenomes from the rhizosphere of plants of agronomic and forestry interest will be characterized to gain insights on the functional relationship between metabolic and bacterial diversity in this ecological niche. • RNome and riboregulation of gene expression. Computational comparative genomics and high throughput shut-gun cloning approaches will be undertaken to asses the structure and -proteobacterial RNomes. sRNAs will be functionally characterized as key components of regulatory networks operating in common adaptive responses of proteobacteria for the interactions with their eukaryotic hosts. • Mobilome: basic and applied aspects of bacterial group II introns. Bacterial group II introns are highly efficient retroelements with modifiable specificity for DNA target sites. The mobility features of the S. meliloti group II intron RmInt1 will be implemented into new insertional mutagenesis protocols for the generation of mutant libraries of diverse rhizobacteria. Its possible application for gene knockdown in plants will be also explored.

Keywords

Rhizosphere, proteobacteria, Sinorhizobium meliloti, pyrosequencing, pan-genome, core-genome, adaptive-genome, metagenome, mobilome, retroelements, group II introns, ribozymes, RNome, riboregulators, high throughput mutagenesis, genome evolution, bacterial diversity, root colonization, biomarkers, novel enzymes