, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 539-545
Date: 16 Aug 2005

Chemotropism in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae

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In this work, we report the occurrence of chemotropism in the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus mosseae. Fungal hyphae were able to respond to host-derived signals by reorienting their growth towards roots and to perceive chemotropic signals at a distance of at least 910 μm from roots. In order to reach the source of chemotropic signals, hyphal tips crossed interposed membranes emerging within 1 mm from roots, eventually establishing mycorrhizal symbiosis. The specificity of chemotropic growth was evidenced by hyphal growth reorientation and membrane penetration occurring only in experimental systems set up with host plants. Since pre-symbiotic growth is a critical stage in the life cycle of obligate AM fungal symbionts, chemotropic guidance may represent an important mechanism functional to host root location, appressorium formation and symbiosis establishment.