Plant endophytic fungi are an important and novel resource of natural bioactive compounds with their potential applications in agriculture, medicine and food industry. In the past two decades, many valuable bioactive compounds with antimicrobial, insecticidal, cytotoxic, and anticancer activities have been successfully discovered from endophytic fungi. During the long period of co-evolution, a friendly relationship was formed between each endophyte and its host plant. Some endophytes have the ability to produce the same or similar bioactive compounds as those originated from their host plants. This review mainly deals with the research progress on endophytic fungi for producing plant-derived bioactive compounds such as paclitaxel, podophyllotoxin, camptothecine, vinblastine, hypericin, and diosgenin. The relations between endophytic fungi and their host plants, biological activities and action mechanisms of these compounds from endophytic fungi, some available strategies for efficiently promoting production of these bioactive compounds, as well as their potential applications in the future will also be discussed. It is beneficial for us to better understand and take advantage of plant endophytic fungi.
Keywords: Endophytic fungi, bioactive compounds, host plants, diosgenin, Taxomyces andreanae, paclitaxel, podophyllotoxin, camptothecine, vinblastine, hypericin, Taxus brevifolia