About this Research Topic
The plant’s surfaces and internal tissues are colonized by communities of microbes collectively called the plant microbiota. The root-associated bacterial assemblages constitute a specific subset of soil-originating bacteria with well-established roles in promoting plant growth and conferring (a)biotic stress tolerance. Leaves host their own microbiota too, with the microbial reservoirs in the soil feeding part of the aboveground bacterial communities. Although the beneficial effects of plant-associated microbes in plant health and productivity have been known for over 100 years, only recently, advances in sequencing technologies allowed to profile the totality of microorganisms which thrive in the plant tissues. Since the first seminal studies in Arabidopsis, that defined a core microbiome in the roots of model plant species, a wealth of metagenomics surveys started to decode community composition in various hosts and plant organs over a range of environmental and experimental settings, inaugurating a new exciting era in the plant-microbe interaction research.
The great interest in the plant microbiome mainly stems from its potential to provide ecofriendly solutions in plant disease protection and novel tools to promote sustainability in agroecosystems. Understanding the population dynamics of the plant microbiota and exploring the functional properties of the plant microbiomes are essential to transform fundamental knowledge to microbiome-informed innovations in modern agriculture.
We distinguish three ways by which the microbiota interact with the plant immunity: (i) evasion and/or suppression of local plant immune responses as a prerequisite for efficient colonization of the plant organs, (ii) microbiota-mediated modulation of systemic immune response; specific microbes can induce systemic resistance (ISR), whereas others render plants more susceptible, (iii) direct mechanisms of disease suppression as exemplified in the disease suppressive soils. In this Research Topic, we aim to collect studies to expand our understanding on the reciprocal interactions between the plant microbiota and the plant immune system. We welcome submission of Original Research, Reviews, and Opinions on the following:
- Mechanisms that root and leaf microbiota (bacteria and fungi) have evolved to evade or suppress local host immune responses.
- Disease-induced structural and functional modification of the root microbiome, i.e. compositional changes of the root and leaf microbiota in response to pathogen attack.
- Mechanisms involved in microbiota-mediated modulation of plant immunity.
- Mechanisms of direct disease suppression by microbiota members or microbial assemblages.
- Use of metagenomic and culture-based data to design and apply synthetic microbial communities to promote plant growth and suppress disease.
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