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Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Volume 70, 2021, Pages 241-247

Metabolic interactions in beneficial microbe recruitment by plants?

Davar Abedini1, Sébastien Jaupitre1, Harro Bouwmeester, Lemeng Dong

Plant Hormone Biology Group, Green Life Sciences Cluster, Swammerdam Institute for Life Science, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


During millions of years of evolution, land plants and microorganisms have established elaborate partnerships. Microbes play essential roles in plant fitness and help plants cope with environmental challenges. Vice versa, plants provide the microbes with a niche and food. In the soil, a complex network of interactions mediated by metabolic signals drives the relationship between plants and microbes. Here, we review the roles of metabolic signaling in the plant–microbiome interaction. We discuss how plant-produced small molecules are involved in the recruitment of the microbiome. Also the microbial partners in this relationship use small molecules, such as quorum sensing molecules and volatiles for intra-species and inter-species communication. We give an overview of the regulation of the biosynthesis, secretion and perception of both plant and microbial small molecules and discuss the examples of biotechnological approaches to engineer the plant–microbiome interaction by targeting these metabolic dialogues. Ultimately, an improved understanding of the plant–microbiome interaction and engineering possibilities will pave the way to a more sustainable agriculture.

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