Endophytic bacteria, which interact closely with their host, are an essential part of the plant microbiome. These interactions enhance plant tolerance to environmental changes as well as promote plant growth, thus they have become attractive targets for increasing crop production. Numerous studies have aimed to characterise how endophytic bacteria infect and colonise their hosts as well as conferring important traits to the plant. In this review, we summarise the current knowledge regarding endophytic colonisation and focus on the insights that have been obtained from the mutants of bacteria and plants as well as 'omic analyses. These show how endophytic bacteria produce various molecules and have a range of activities related to chemotaxis, motility, adhesion, bacterial cell wall properties, secretion, regulating transcription and utilising a substrate in order to establish a successful interaction. Colonisation is mediated by plant receptors and is regulated by the signalling that is connected with phytohormones such as auxin and jasmonic (JA) and salicylic acids (SA). We also highlight changes in the expression of small RNAs and modifications of the cell wall properties. Moreover, in order to exploit the beneficial plant-endophytic bacteria interactions in agriculture successfully, we show that the key aspects that govern successful interactions remain to be defined.
Keywords: colonisation; comparative genomics; endophytic bacteria; metabolomics; mutants; plant interactions; proteomics; transcriptomics.