Untapped mutualistic paradigms linking host plant and endophytic fungal production of similar bioactive secondary metabolites.
The biosynthetic potential of endophytic fungi has gained impetus in recent times owing to the continual discovery of fungal endophytes capable of synthesizing plant compounds. However, the sustained production of the desired plant compounds has not yet been achieved using endophytes. It is thus imperative to investigate the diverse interactions that endophytes have with coexisting endophytes, host plants, insect pests, and other specific herbivores. The precise role of these associations on the endophytic production of host plant compounds is mostly overlooked and open to future discoveries. Here, highlighted are the implications of the poorly investigated links and molecular mechanisms that might trigger similar chemical responses in both plants and endophytes. Elucidating such connections can not only enhance the understanding of evolution of complex defense mechanisms in plants and associated organisms, but also help in the sustained production of plant compounds using endophytes harbored within them. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.