, Volume 221, Issue 2, pp 184-196
Date: 26 Nov 2004

Molecular and cell biology of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis

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Abstract

The roots of most extant plants are able to become engaged in an interaction with a small group of fungi of the fungal order Glomales (Glomeromycota). This interaction—arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis—is the evolutionary precursor of most other mutualistic root-microbe associations. The molecular analysis of this interaction can elucidate basic principles regarding such associations. This review summarizes our present knowledge about cellular and molecular aspects of AM. Emphasis is placed on morphological changes in colonized cells, transfer of nutrients between both interacting partners, and plant defence responses. Similarities to and differences from other associations of plant and microorganisms are highlighted regarding defence reactions and signal perception.