Production of Agrocinopine A by Ipomoea batatas Agrocinopine Synthase in Transgenic Tobacco and Its Effect on the Rhizosphere Microbial Community.

Aiko Tanaka, Maarten H Ryder, Takamasa Suzuki, Kazuma Uesaka, Nobuo Yamaguchi, Tomoko Amimoto, Motoyasu Otani, Osamu Nakayachi, Kenji Arakawa, Nobukazu Tanaka, Daigo Takemoto

Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a bacterial pathogen that causes crown gall disease on a wide range of eudicot plants by genetic transformation. Besides T-DNA integrated by natural transformation of plant vegetative tissues by pathogenic Agrobacterium spp., previous reports have indicated that T-DNA sequences originating from an ancestral Agrobacterium sp. are present in the genomes of all cultivated sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties analyzed. Expression of an Agrobacterium-derived agrocinopine synthase (ACS) gene was detected in leaf and root tissues of sweet potato, suggesting that the plant can produce agrocinopine, a sugar-phosphodiester opine considered to be utilized by some strains of Agrobacterium spp. in crown gall. To validate the product synthesized by Ipomoea batatas ACS (IbACS), we introduced IbACS into tobacco under a constitutive promoter. High-voltage paper electrophoresis followed by alkaline silver nitrate staining detected the production of an agrocinopine-like substance in IbACS1-expressing tobacco, and further mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses of the product confirmed that IbACS can produce agrocinopine A from natural plant substrates. The partially purified compound was biologically active in an agrocinopine A bioassay. A 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing and meta-transcriptome analysis revealed that the rhizosphere microbial community of tobacco was affected by the expression of IbACS. A new species of Leifsonia (actinobacteria) was isolated as an enriched bacterium in the rhizosphere of IbACS1-expressing tobacco. This Leifsonia sp. can catabolize agrocinopine A produced in tobacco, indicating that the production of agrocinopine A attracts rhizosphere bacteria that can utilize this sugar-phosphodiester. These results suggest a potential role of IbACS conserved among sweet potato cultivars in manipulating their microbial community.[Formula: see text] Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.