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Open AccessArticle

Response of Microbial Communities and Their Metabolic Functions to Drying–Rewetting Stress in a Temperate Forest Soil

Institute of Soil Research, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Peter Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Mazingira Centre for Environmental Research and Education, Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Institute of Microbiology, University of Greifswald, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Straße 15, 17489 Greifswald, Germany
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Correnstraße 3, 06466, Gatersleben, Germany
Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, Mattenhofstrasse 5, 3007 Bern, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this study.
Current address: Robert-Koch-Institute, Nosocomial Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistance, Burgstraße 37, 38855 Wernigerode, Germany.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(5), 129;
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Integrated Multi-omics Analyses of Environmental Microbiota)
Global climate change is predicted to alter drought–precipitation patterns, which will likely affect soil microbial communities and their functions, ultimately shifting microbially-mediated biogeochemical cycles. The present study aims to investigate the simultaneous variation of microbial community compositions and functions in response to drought and following rewetting events, using a soil metaproteomics approach. For this, an established field experiment located in an Austrian forest with two levels (moderate and severe stress) of precipitation manipulation was evaluated. The results showed that fungi were more strongly influenced by drying and rewetting (DRW) than bacteria, and that there was a drastic shift in the fungal community towards a more Ascomycota-dominated community. In terms of functional responses, a larger number of proteins and a higher functional diversity were observed in both moderate and severe DRW treatments compared to the control. Furthermore, in both DRW treatments a rise in proteins assigned to “translation, ribosomal structure, and biogenesis” and “protein synthesis” suggests a boost in microbial cell growth after rewetting. We also found that the changes within intracellular functions were associated to specific phyla, indicating that responses of microbial communities to DRW primarily shifted microbial functions. Microbial communities seem to respond to different levels of DRW stress by changing their functional potential, which may feed back to biogeochemical cycles. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil proteins; microbial diversity; drying–rewetting; microbial function soil proteins; microbial diversity; drying–rewetting; microbial function
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Liu, D.; Keiblinger, K.M.; Leitner, S.; Wegner, U.; Zimmermann, M.; Fuchs, S.; Lassek, C.; Riedel, K.; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S. Response of Microbial Communities and Their Metabolic Functions to Drying–Rewetting Stress in a Temperate Forest Soil. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 129.

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