Review: The Plant Microbiota: Systems-Level Insights and Perspectives ($)

microbiotaTerrestrial plants are hosts to diverse types of microbes, predominantly bacteria, that affect plant health and growth in numerous ways. The major types of plant microbiota include plant pathogens, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, endophytes (residing within plant tissues), epiphytes (residing on plant surfaces), etc. Müller et al. review various aspects of plant microbiota research. Phylogenetic research suggests that in spite of some differences, the microbial communities on above- and belowground organs typically exhibit a defined taxonomic structure composed of mainly Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. A holistic understanding of entire plant microbiomes can be gained by an integration of various omics data. Insights into how host genotype affects bacterial community establishment come from Synthetic Communities (SynComs), involving gnotobiotic systems in which a plant grown under microbe-free conditions can be experimentally inoculated. A better understanding of the various plant host-microbe interactions taking place at a systems level could help with microbiome applications such as improved plant health and phytoremediation. (Summary by Bhavisha Sheth) Annu. Rev. Genet. 10.1146/annurev-genet-120215-034952