Plant microbiome blueprints

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6250, pp. 788-789
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0092

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Just as the number of petals in a flower or the number of limbs on an animal follow predictable rules, host-associated microbial communities (“microbiomes”) have predictable compositions. At the level of bacterial phylum, the structure of the host-associated microbiome is conserved across individuals of a species (1, 2). The consistency and predictability of host-associated microbiomes—like many of the phenotypes of a particular multicellular organism—suggest that they too may, in part, be under the regulation of a genetic blueprint. Indeed, evidence in animals shows that through production of broad-spectrum antimicrobials, the innate immune system shapes the composition of the gut microbiome (3, 4). On page 860 of this issue, Lebeis et al. (5) reveal a critical role of the plant hormone salicylic acid in determining the higher-order organization of the root-associated microbiome of the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana.