A wide variety of beneficial and pathogenic microbes surrounds plants both below and above ground. This microbial diversity is shaped by different biotic and abiotic factors and plays a role in maintaining plant health in natural settings. Hence, it is vital to understand the influence of different factors on determining the formulation of the microbial communities that associate with plants. Many studies have contributed to understanding the composition of rhizobiomes (microbes associated with roots), but fewer explore how plants shape their rhizobiomes. Sasse et al. review the contributions of plant genetic factors, root morphology and root exudation in shaping the rhizobiome, and explore a putative metabolite network between plant and microbes. They also summarize the transporters involved in root exudation and their contributions to the shaping of the rhizobiome. This article concludes by summarizing limitations to our current models, and outstanding questions including the need to analyze root exudation in natural settings. (Summary by Mugdha Sabale) Trends Plant Sci. 10.1016/j.tplants.2017.09.003
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