Research Interests

  1. Cell-cell signaling in bacterial communities of plant associated Bacteria
  2. Plant microbiomes and the development of microbial products for a more sustainable agriculture

Description of Research

The Group focuses on bacterial intraspecies, interspecies and interkingdom signalling in plant-associated microbiomes and the identification and development of plant bacterial probiotics.

A long-standing interest of the laboratory is contact independent cell-cell communication in plant-associated bacteria. The bacterial cell-cell signalling mechanism of interest is the N-acyl homoserine lactone dependant quorum sensing system of Gram-negative proteobacteria. Questions that we are addressing on this type of quorum sensing system are (i) the role of cell-cell signalling in forming and stabilising bacterial plant communities, (ii) how these regulatory systems are regulated in the plant environment and (iii) the role of LuxR solos (i.e. regulators that respond to exogenous signals involved in interspecies and interkingdom signalling) in cell-cell communication.

We are also performing studies on the bacterial members of plant microbiomes focusing and on devising selective high-throughput methodologies for the isolation, identification and genomics of beneficial plant associated bacteria. We mainly use rice and sorghum as our plants of interest with the aim of developing bacterial inoculants as a way to reduce agrochemical input and assist plant health/growth in temperate areas and in extreme environments in Africa.

This figure depicts a summary of the many microbe-microbe interactions that can take place in the microbiome; their role in the microbiome remains at large unknow. See Venturi and Bez, Trends in Plant Science, 26:1126-1132 (2021) for more details.

Recent Publications

Bertani, I., Zampieri, E., Bez, C., Volante, A., Venturi, V., & Monaco, S. (2021). Isolation and Characterization of Pseudomonas chlororaphis Strain ST9; Rhizomicrobiota and in Planta Studies. Plants (Basel, Switzerland)10(7), 1466.

Bez, C., Covaceuzach, S., Bertani, I., Choudhary, K. S., & Venturi, V. (2021). LuxR Solos from Environmental Fluorescent Pseudomonads. mSphere6(2), e01322-20.

Bez, C., Esposito, A., Thuy, H. D., Nguyen Hong, M., Valè, G., Licastro, D., Bertani, I., Piazza, S., & Venturi, V. (2021). The rice foot rot pathogen Dickeya zeae alters the in-field plant microbiome. Environmental microbiology, 10.1111/1462-2920.15726. Advance online publication.

Musonerimana, S., et al., Pathobiomes revealed that Pseudomonas fuscovaginae and Sarocladium oryzae are independently associated with rice sheath rot. Microb Ecol, 2020. 80(3): p. 627-642.

Mataranyika, P.N., et al., Bacterial bioinoculants adapted for sustainable plant health and soil fertility enhancement in Namibia. Front Sustain Food Sys, 2022. 6: p. 1002797.

Itam, M.O., et al., Demonstrating the benefit of agricultural biotechnology in developing countries by bridging the public and private sectors. Nat Plants, in press Spacapan, M., C. Bez, and V. Venturi, Quorum sensing going wild. iScience, 2023. 26(10): p. 108000.

Mosquito, S., Bertani, I., Licastro, D., Compant, S., Myers, M. P., Hinarejos, E., Levy, A., & Venturi, V. (2020). In Planta Colonization and Role of T6SS in Two Rice Kosakonia Endophytes. Molecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI33(2), 349–363.

Mosquito, S., Meng, X., Devescovi, G., Bertani, I., Geller, A. M., Levy, A., Myers, M. P., Bez, C., Covaceuszach, S., & Venturi, V. (2020). LuxR Solos in the Plant Endophyte Kosakonia sp. Strain KO348. Applied and environmental microbiology86(13), e00622-20.

Venturi, V. and C. Bez, A call to arms for cell-cell interactions between bacteria in the plant microbiome. Trends Plant Sci, 2021. 26(11): p. 1126-1132.

Venturi, V., T4BSS-dependent biocontrol by plant-beneficial Pseudomonas. Nat Microbiol, 2022. 7(10): p. 1508-1509.

Bez, C., et al., Cell-Cell Signaling Proteobacterial LuxR Solos: a Treasure Trove of Subgroups Having Different Origins, Ligands, and Ecological Roles. mSystems, 2023: p. e0103922.

Venturi, V., et al., RsaM: a unique dominant regulator of AHL quorum sensing in bacteria. Microbiology Society, 2023. 169(11).