Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Lu, Shien

Committee Member

Sabanadzovic, Sead

Committee Member

Baird, Richard E.

Committee Member

Li, Jiaxu

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Life Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Strains MS455 and MS389, endophytic bacteria, were isolated from healthy soybean plant growing adjacent to a patch of plants affected by charcoal rot disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina. The complete genomes of both strains were sequenced and identified as Burkholderia species Strain MS455 exhibits broad-spectrum antifungal activities against economically important pathogens, including Aspergillus flavus. Random and site-specific mutations were employed in discovery of the genes that share high homology to the ocf gene cluster of Burkholderia contaminans strain MS14, which is responsible for production of the antifungal compound occidiofungin. RNA-seq analysis demonstrated ORF1, a homolog to the ambR1 LuxR-type regulatory gene, not only regulates occidiofungin biosynthesis in MS455, but also involved in expression of multiple genes, especially those involved in ornibactin biosynthesis. Plate and corn kernel assays showed that growth of A. flavus and aflatoxin production were reduced significantly by MS455 as compared with buffer control and the ORF1 mutant. Strain MS389 shows significant antifungal and antibacterial activities as well. Mutagenesis study identified that the TatC gene, an important unit of twin-arginine translocase (Tat) secretion system, and the LysR-type transcriptional regulatory gene were essential for the antifungal activity of strain MS389. RNA-seq analysis implied that the pyrrolnitrin biosynthesis gene cluster and an uncharacterized NRPS / PKS gene cluster were involved in antifungal activity. By comparing several endophytic bacteria of Burkholderia, including MS455 and MS389, to pathogenic Burkholderia species, endophytic bacteria were observed to harbor multiple antimicrobial biosynthesis genes but lack certain pathogenic or virulence genes. The potential endophytic behavior related genes and characteristics related to antibiotic resistance, secretion system, and CRISPR-Cas profiles were well established. The research findings on strains MS455 and MS389 have provided important genetic clues for understanding their molecular mechanism of antimicrobial activities and exhibited their potential possibility as biocontrol agents.

Available for download on Friday, December 15, 2023