The community structure in the plant-associated microbiome depends collectively on host-microbe, microbe-microbe and host-microbe-microbe interactions. The ensemble of interactions between the host and microbial consortia may lead to outcomes that are not easily predicted from pairwise interactions. Plant-microbe-microbe interactions are important to plant health but could depend on both host and microbe strain variation. Here we study interactions between groups of naturally co-existing commensal and pathogenic Pseudomonas strains in the Arabidopsis thaliana phyllosphere. We find that commensal Pseudomonas prompt a host response that leads to selective inhibition of a specific pathogenic lineage, resulting in plant protection. The extent of protection depends on plant genotype, supporting that these effects are host-mediated. Strain-specific effects are also demonstrated by one individual Pseudomonas isolate eluding the plant protection provided by commensals. Our work highlights how within-species genetic differences in both hosts and microbes can affect host-microbe-microbe dynamics.
© 2022. The Author(s).