Maternal effects and environmental filtering on microbial fluxes from mother plants to offspring

Durée : 2020 - 2022
Programme : INRAE
Portée : Internationale
Maternal effects
Microbial fluxes
Environmental change

The acquisition and transmission of microbial endophytes have a fundamental role on plant development and growth. Studies on crop species suggest maternal effects, but these effects remain in their infancy in natural ecosystems, which are subject to strong environmental change.

The project HOLOBROM aims to assess the influence of the abiotic maternal environment on the microbiota and the phenotype of seeds and offspring. Specifically, we ask: How does change in the abiotic environment of the mother plant impact the microbiota and the phenotype of the mother plants, and the vertical transmission of the microbiota through seeds? What is the relative contribution of the abiotic environment of the offspring and of the maternal effects on the offspring microbiota and phenotype?

Two greenhouse experiments will be specifically designed (1) to obtain seeds of the next generation from seeds of a mother plant growing along an environmental stress gradient and (2) to tease apart the effects of abiotic environmental factors from maternal effects on microbial endophytes and offspring phenotypes.  In order to understand the mechanisms involved in the transmission of microbial endophytes, we will combine metabarcoding approaches to characterize fungal and bacterial endophyte communities in seeds and different plant compartments, with metabolomic, biochemistry, and ecophysiology approaches to characterize the taxonomic and metabolic diversity of microbial endophytes, plant performance, and the interaction between these components.


  • AMAP, Kourou, France
  • ECOFOG, Kourou, France
  • BIOGECO, Bordeaux, France
  • LRSV, Toulouse, France
  • IBENS, Paris, France
  • Universidade São Paulo, Brazil
  • Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria