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Annu Rev Genet. 2016 Nov 23;50:211-234. Epub 2016 Sep 14.

The Plant Microbiota: Systems-Level Insights and Perspectives.

Author information

1
Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland; email: jvorholt@ethz.ch.
2
Department of Plant Microbe Interactions, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, 50829 Cologne, Germany.
3
State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, National Centre for Plant Gene Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.

Abstract

Plants do not grow as axenic organisms in nature, but host a diverse community of microorganisms, termed the plant microbiota. There is an increasing awareness that the plant microbiota plays a role in plant growth and can provide protection from invading pathogens. Apart from intense research on crop plants, Arabidopsis is emerging as a valuable model system to investigate the drivers shaping stable bacterial communities on leaves and roots and as a tool to decipher the intricate relationship among the host and its colonizing microorganisms. Gnotobiotic experimental systems help establish causal relationships between plant and microbiota genotypes and phenotypes and test hypotheses on biotic and abiotic perturbations in a systematic way. We highlight major recent findings in plant microbiota research using comparative community profiling and omics analyses, and discuss these approaches in light of community establishment and beneficial traits like nutrient acquisition and plant health.

KEYWORDS:

Arabidopsis; bacterial community; commensal; gnotobiotic; microbiome; plant protection

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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