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Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 70; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040070

Transmission of Bacterial Endophytes

School of Natural Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, CA 95340, USA
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Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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Abstract

Plants are hosts to complex communities of endophytic bacteria that colonize the interior of both below- and aboveground tissues. Bacteria living inside plant tissues as endophytes can be horizontally acquired from the environment with each new generation, or vertically transmitted from generation to generation via seed. A better understanding of bacterial endophyte transmission routes and modes will benefit studies of plant–endophyte interactions in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. In this review, we provide an overview of the transmission routes that bacteria can take to colonize plants, including vertically via seeds and pollen, and horizontally via soil, atmosphere, and insects. We discuss both well-documented and understudied transmission routes, and identify gaps in our knowledge on how bacteria reach the inside of plants. Where little knowledge is available on endophytes, we draw from studies on bacterial plant pathogens to discuss potential transmission routes. Colonization of roots from soil is the best studied transmission route, and probably the most important, although more studies of transmission to aerial parts and stomatal colonization are needed, as are studies that conclusively confirm vertical transfer. While vertical transfer of bacterial endophytes likely occurs, obligate and strictly vertically transferred symbioses with bacteria are probably unusual in plants. Instead, plants appear to benefit from the ability to respond to a changing environment by acquiring its endophytic microbiome anew with each generation, and over the lifetime of individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacterial endophytes; transmission; vertical; horizontal; colonization; dispersion bacterial endophytes; transmission; vertical; horizontal; colonization; dispersion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Frank, A.C.; Saldierna Guzmán, J.P.; Shay, J.E. Transmission of Bacterial Endophytes. Microorganisms 2017, 5, 70.

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