About this Research Topic
A diverse community of bacteria colonizes aboveground and belowground parts of plants. The bacterial interactions with the plant are varied and the outcomes range from beneficial to detrimental for the eukaryotic host. Plant-associated bacteria also get in contact with insects that feed on or otherwise interact with plants. Recent research has revealed that some of these bacteria can efficiently invade and colonize insects and exploit them as a shelter for persistence and proliferation, as vectors for dispersal or as an alternative nutrient source. Plant-associated bacteria sometimes exhibit potent insecticidal activities so that encounters are deadly for the plant-feeding arthropods. Plant-colonizing bacteria may also indirectly harm herbivorous insects by stimulating plant defences. Conversely, they sometimes render plants more sensitive to insect attack. Moreover, plant-feeding insects may vector and release bacteria to manipulate the innate immune defences of the plant. We are currently only beginning to obtain first insights into the complex molecular and ecological mechanisms involved in the multilevel interactions taking place between bacteria, insects and plants. This Research Topic aims at highlighting recent progress in this emerging field, which we believe will have significant impact both at a fundamental research level (mechanisms of host-microbe interaction) and an applied research level (microbial pest control in agriculture). Original Research, Review and Opinion papers dealing with this topic are most welcome.
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