Natural variation in root exudation of GABA and DIMBOA impacts the maize root endosphere and rhizosphere microbiomes

Peng Wang, Lucas Dantas Lopes, Martha G. Lopez-Guerrero, Karin Van Dijk, Sophie Alvarez, Jean Jack Riethoven, Daniel P. Schachtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Root exudates are important for shaping root-associated microbiomes. However, studies on a wider range of metabolites in exudates are required for a comprehensive understanding about their influence on microbial communities. We identified maize inbred lines that differ in exudate concentrations of 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) using a semi-hydroponic system. These lines were grown in the field to determine the changes in microbial diversity and gene expression due to varying concentrations of DIMBOA and GABA in exudates using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and metatranscriptomics. Results showed individual and interaction effects of DIMBOA and GABA on the rhizosphere and root endosphere β-diversity, most strongly at the V10 growth stage. The main bacterial families affected by both compounds were Ktedonobacteraceae and Xanthomonadaceae. Higher concentrations of DIMBOA in exudates affected the rhizosphere metatranscriptome, enriching for metabolic pathways associated with plant disease. This study validated the use of natural variation within plant species as a powerful approach for understanding the role of root exudates on microbiome selection. We also showed that a semi-hydroponic system can be used to identify maize genotypes that differ in GABA and DIMBOA exudate concentrations under field conditions. The impact of GABA exudation on root-associated microbiomes is shown for the first time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5052-5066
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number14
StatePublished - Aug 11 2022


  • Bacteria
  • exudates
  • fungi
  • maize
  • metabolites
  • rhizosphere
  • root

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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