Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nature Communications


Department of Biological Sciences


Recent studies have demonstrated that drought leads to dramatic, highly conserved shifts in the root microbiome. At present, the molecular mechanisms underlying these responses remain largely uncharacterized. Here we employ genome-resolved metagenomics and comparative genomics to demonstrate that carbohydrate and secondary metabolite transport functionalities are overrepresented within drought-enriched taxa. These data also reveal that bacterial iron transport and metabolism functionality is highly correlated with drought enrichment. Using time-series root RNA-Seq data, we demonstrate that iron homeostasis within the root is impacted by drought stress, and that loss of a plant phytosiderophore iron transporter impacts microbial community composition, leading to significant increases in the drought-enriched lineage, Actinobacteria. Finally, we show that exogenous application of iron disrupts the drought-induced enrichment of Actinobacteria, as well as their improvement in host phenotype during drought stress. Collectively, our findings implicate iron metabolism in the root microbiome’s response to drought and may inform efforts to improve plant drought tolerance to increase food security.



Original Citation

Xu, L., Dong, Z., Chiniquy, D. et al. Genome-resolved metagenomics reveals role of iron metabolism in drought-induced rhizosphere microbiome dynamics. Nat Commun 12, 3209 (2021).