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Concept: Endophyte


The endophytic fungus, Neotyphodium coenophialum, can enhance drought tolerance of its host grass, tall fescue. To investigate endophyte effects on plant responses to acute water deficit stress, we did comprehensive profiling of plant metabolite levels in both shoot and root tissues of genetically identical clone pairs of tall fescue with endophyte (E+) and without endophyte (E-) in response to direct water deficit stress. The E- clones were generated by treating E+ plants with fungicide and selectively propagating single tillers. In time course studies on the E+ and E- clones, water was withheld from 0 to 5 days, during which levels of free sugars, sugar alcohols, and amino acids were determined, as were levels of some major fungal metabolites.

Concepts: Acid, Metabolism, Plant, Fungus, Water, Cell wall, Sugar, Endophyte


A dark septate fungus of Pseudosigmoidea, Hyphomycetes, was recovered from forest soil in Ibaraki prefecture, Japan. The isolate is characterized by pale to brown conidia with up to 8 septa measuring 68-132 × 4-7.9 mm. It is also unique in producing conidia borne by long conidogenious cells in agar medium with or without water, compared to P. cranei, which must be immersed in water to sporulate. Morphological analysis indicated that the isolate is distinct from P. cranei and is described as a new species, P. ibarakiensis sp. nov. Pathogenicity tests of Chinese cabbage and cucumber seedlings indicated that the fungus grows as an endophyte and colonizes, inter and intracellularly, the root epidermal and cortical layers without causing apparent disease symptoms in the host. This endophyte showed the ability to support cucumber plant growth under conditions where NaNO3 was replaced by organic nitrogen but also conferred to Chinese cabbage the ability to grow at low pH. It also became successfully established in six other plants, including the Brassicae, Solanaceae, Poaceae, and Liliacea families, suggesting its adaptability to a broad range of host plants.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Japan, Spore, Endophyte, Prefectures of Japan, Honshū, Kantō region


Endophytes proved to exert multiple effects on host plants, including growth promotion, stress resistance. However, whether endophytes have a role in metabolites shaping of grape has not been fully understood. Eight endophytic fungal strains which originally isolated from grapevines were re-inoculated to field-grown grapevines in this study, and their effects on both leaves and berries of grapevines at maturity stage were assessed, with special focused on secondary metabolites and antioxidant activities. High-density inoculation of all these endophytic fungal strains modified the physio-chemical status of grapevine to different degrees. Fungal inoculations promoted the content of reducing sugar (RS), total flavonoids (TF), total phenols (TPh), trans-resveratrol (Res) and activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), in both leaves and berries of grapevine. Inoculation of endophytic fungal strains, CXB-11 (Nigrospora sp.) and CXC-13 (Fusarium sp.) conferred greater promotion effects in grape metabolic re-shaping, compared to other used fungal strains. Additionally, inoculation of different strains of fungal endophytes led to establish different metabolites patterns of wine grape. The work implies the possibility of using endophytic fungi as fine-tuning regulator to shape the quality and character of wine grape.

Concepts: Fungus, Vitis vinifera, Grape, Vitis, Vitaceae, Vitis riparia, Endophyte, Muscadine


A staggering diversity of endophytic fungi associate with healthy plants in nature, but it is usually unclear whether these represent stochastic encounters or provide host fitness benefits. Although most characterized species of the fungal genus Colletotrichum are destructive pathogens, we show here that C. tofieldiae (Ct) is an endemic endophyte in natural Arabidopsis thaliana populations in central Spain. Colonization by Ct initiates in roots but can also spread systemically into shoots. Ct transfers the macronutrient phosphorus to shoots, promotes plant growth, and increases fertility only under phosphorus-deficient conditions, a nutrient status that might have facilitated the transition from pathogenic to beneficial lifestyles. The host’s phosphate starvation response (PSR) system controls Ct root colonization and is needed for plant growth promotion (PGP). PGP also requires PEN2-dependent indole glucosinolate metabolism, a component of innate immune responses, indicating a functional link between innate immunity and the PSR system during beneficial interactions with Ct.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Evolution, Plant, Innate immune system, Fungus, Immunity, Endophyte


Fungal root endophytes are plant associates that colonize root tissue internally without causing any obvious harm to their host. Although ubiquitous, this relationship is not well understood. Our objectives were to determine the effects of fungal root endophyte inoculation on plant biomass and nitrogen concentration by conducting an extensive meta-analysis. We also explored the effects of experimental conditions on the host-endophyte relationship. We performed analyses weighted with non-parametric variance on plant response to root endophytes from the Ascomycetes (excluding the Clavacipitaceae), including categorical analyses of 21 experimental factors, ranging from the identity of the host and the endophyte, to the composition of the growing medium. The response of total biomass to endophyte inoculation was 18 % lower than non-inoculated controls, while individually, root biomass, shoot biomass, and nitrogen concentration responses to endophyte inoculation were neutral. The identities of both the host and the endophyte had an influence, as did the original source of the endophyte (whether or not the isolate used originated from the same host species). Experimental conditions also influenced the plant-endophyte relationship, with the most important being the availability and sources of carbon and organic nitrogen, particularly peat moss. Although our analysis demonstrates that overall plant biomass and nitrogen concentration responses to ascomycetous root endophyte inoculation is neutral to negative, these results are somewhat confounded by among-study differences in experimental conditions, which undoubtedly contribute to the high levels of variability in plant response seen in the literature.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Symbiosis, Soil, Ascomycota, Moss, Endophyte, Fungi


Nodulisporic acids (NAs) are indole diterpene fungal metabolites exhibiting potent systemic efficacy against blood-feeding arthropods, e.g., bedbugs, fleas and ticks, via binding to arthropod specific glutamate-gated chloride channels. Intensive medicinal chemistry efforts employing a nodulisporic acid A template have led to the development of N-tert-butyl nodulisporamide as a product candidate for a once monthly treatment of fleas and ticks on companion animals. The source of the NAs is a monophyletic lineage of asexual endophytic fungal strains that is widely distributed in the tropics, tentatively identified as a Nodulisporium species and hypothesized to be the asexual state of a Hypoxylon species.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Plant, Fungus, Tropics, Crustacean, Arachnid, Endophyte, Chelicerata


We evaluated the impact of fungal endophyte symbiosis on the growth, ecophysiological and reproductive success of wheat exposed to heat and drought.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Symbiosis, Wheat, Endosymbiont, Endophyte, Fungi, Endophytes


In the natural products research, a valuable approach is the prospection of uncommon sources and unexplored habitat. Special attention has been given to endophytic fungi because of their ability to produce new and interesting secondary metabolites, which have several biological applications. The endophytes establish exclusive symbiotic relationships with plants and the metabolic interactions may support the synthesis of some similar valuables compounds. Among secondary metabolites, phenol-derived structures are responsible for several bioactivities such as antioxidant, cytotoxic, antimicrobial, among others. Phenolic compounds might be biosynthesized from the shikimate pathway. Although shikimic acid is a common precursor in plants, it is described as rare in microorganisms. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review about phenolic compounds produced by endophytic fungi and a comparison has been made with those produced by the plant host. This review covers 124 phenolic secondary metabolites produced by endophytic fungi. Considering the data analyzed by us, only seven of such compounds were isolated from fungi and from their hosts. These observations claim for more attention to phenolic compounds produced by endophytic fungi with a view to understand the real importance of these compounds to endophytes survival.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Microbiology, Plant, Fungus, Symbiosis, Endosymbiont, Endophyte


Many recent studies have demonstrated that non-pathogenic fungi within plant microbiomes, i.e., endophytes (“endo" = within, "phyte" = plant), can significantly modify the expression of host plant disease. The rapid pace of advancement in endophyte ecology warrants a pause to synthesize our understanding of endophyte disease modification and to discuss future research directions. We reviewed recent literature on fungal endophyte disease modification, and here report on several emergent themes: (1) Fungal endophyte effects on plant disease span the full spectrum from pathogen antagonism to pathogen facilitation, with pathogen antagonism most commonly reported. (2) Agricultural plant pathosystems are the focus of research on endophyte disease modification. (3) A taxonomically diverse group of fungal endophytes can influence plant disease severity. And (4) Fungal endophyte effects on plant disease severity are context-dependent. Our review highlights the importance of fungal endophytes for plant disease across a broad range of plant pathosystems, yet simultaneously reveals that complexity within plant microbiomes presents a significant challenge to disentangling the biotic environmental factors affecting plant disease severity. Manipulative studies integrating eco-evolutionary approaches with emerging molecular tools will be poised to elucidate the functional importance of endophytes in natural plant pathosystems that are fundamental to biodiversity and conservation.

Concepts: Microbiology, Plant, Fungus, Ecology, Emergence, Cell wall, Endophyte, Fungi


Bacterial seed endophytes can facilitate germination and early plant development. Therefore, the introduction of seed-borne endophytes may improve selected plant characteristics across generations. In this study, regenerated plantlets of common reed (Phragmites australis) were inoculated with activated sludge to obtain a specific functional endophytic bacterium. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis demonstrated that abundant endophytic bacteria could be enriched in the roots. A siderophore-producing endophytic bacterium was isolated from the roots and identified as Herbaspirillum frisingense RE3-3 based on 16S rRNA sequences. This endophyte secrets indole-3-acetic acid to promote plant growth and cadmium-binding siderophores. The strain was successfully colonized into synthetic seeds using bacterium-propagule co-cultivation and transmitted to regenerated seedlings. These seedlings exhibited improved growth under cadmium stress. This study identifies Herbaspirillum colonization and transmission as a potentially valuable strategy to improve the phytotoxin resistance of reeds for constructed wetlands.

Concepts: Plant, Fungus, Seed, Plant morphology, Germination, Seedling, Endophyte, Constructed wetland