The effects of plant-microbe interactions between the hyperaccumulator Arabidopsis halleri and eight bacterial strains, isolated from the rhizosphere of A. halleri plants grown in a cadmium- and zinc-contaminated site, were analysed for shoot metal accumulation, shoot proteome, and the transcription of genes involved in plant metal homeostasis and hyperaccumulation. Cadmium and zinc concentrations were lower in the shoots of plants cultivated in the presence of these metals plus the selected bacterial strains compared with plants grown solely with these metals or, as previously reported, with plants grown with these metals plus the autochthonous rhizosphere-derived microorganisms. The shoot proteome of plants cultivated in the presence of these selected bacterial strains plus metals, showed an increased abundance of photosynthesis- and abiotic stress-related proteins (e.g. subunits of the photosynthetic complexes, Rubisco, superoxide dismutase, and malate dehydrogenase) counteracted by a decreased amount of plant defence-related proteins (e.g. endochitinases, vegetative storage proteins, and beta-glucosidase). The transcription of several homeostasis genes was modulated by the microbial communities and by Cd and Zn content in the shoot. Altogether these results highlight the importance of plant-microbe interactions in plant protein expression and metal accumulation and emphasize the possibility of exploiting microbial consortia for increasing or decreasing shoot metal content
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