Bacteria and fungi of the plant microbiota can be phytopathogens, parasites or symbionts that establish mutually advantageous relationships with plants. They are often rich in photoreceptors for UVA–Visible light, and in many cases, they exhibit light regulation of growth patterns, infectivity or virulence, reproductive traits, and production of pigments and of metabolites. In addition to the light-driven effects, often demonstrated via the generation of photoreceptor gene knock-outs, microbial photoreceptors can exert effects also in the dark. Interestingly, some fungi switch their attitude towards plants in dependence of illumination or dark conditions in as much as they may be symbiotic or pathogenic. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the roles of light and photoreceptors in plant-associated bacteria and fungi aiming at the identification of common traits and general working ideas. Still, reports on light-driven infection of plants are often restricted to the description of macroscopically observable phenomena, whereas detailed information on the molecular level, e.g., protein–protein interaction during signal transduction or induction mechanisms of infectivity/virulence initiation remains sparse. As it becomes apparent from still only few molecular studies, photoreceptors, often from the red- and the blue light sensitive groups interact and mutually modulate their individual effects. The topic is of great relevance, even in economic terms, referring to plant-pathogen or plant-symbionts interactions, considering the increasing usage of artificial illumination in greenhouses, the possible light-regulation of the synthesis of plant-growth stimulating substances or herbicides by certain symbionts, and the biocontrol of pests by selected fungi and bacteria in a sustainable agriculture.
A light life together: photosensing in the plant microbiota / Losi, Aba; Gärtner, Wolfgang. - In: PHOTOCHEMICAL & PHOTOBIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. - ISSN 1474-905X. - (2021). [10.1007/s43630-021-00029-7]