Mutualistic interactions between plants and fungi often occur in the rhizosphere, although examples exist where shoot-endophytes support host growth and increase resistance to pathogens and herbivores. Fungal endophytes which colonize their hosts without any visible disease symptoms have been recognized to be fundamental components of various ecosystems. Initial efforts have been taken to decipher the genetic basis of beneficial plant-fungus interactions and of lifestyle transitions. This review gives a short overview on well established experimental systems amenable to genetic manipulation and of known genome sequence for dissecting plant-fungal endophyte interactions with a special focus on Arabidopsis thaliana associations.
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