, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Plant-symbiont interactions: the functional role of expansins

  • Sudipta Kumar Mohanty
  • Manoj-Kumar Arthikala
  • Kalpana Nanjareddy
  • Miguel Lara


Expansins are non-enzymatic cell wall proteins that mediate plant growth by catalyzing loosening of cell walls without lysing the wall polymers. Advances in the field of bioinformatics have facilitated the prediction of the members of expansin gene family across several model plants. Expansins constitutes into four sub-families; α-expansin, β-expansin, expansin-like A and expansin-like B. Biological functions of expansin gene family include diverse aspects of plant growth and development, shoot and root elongation, leaf morphogenesis, flower and fruit development, embryogenesis, pollen tube growth, stress tolerance, etc. Recent studies have demonstrated the role of expansins in plant-symbiotic interactions. The present review reveals the factors that govern plant-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and legume-rhizobia symbioses; and the genes that participate in these diverse symbiont interactions. Further, we focus on the expression profiles and the functions of expansins during plant-AMF and legume-rhizobia interactions. The key roles of expansin proteins during AMF invasion, arbuscule formation, rhizobial infection and nodule organogenesis were uncovered during symbioses. This review summarizes discoveries that support the key and versatile roles of various expansin members in the plant-mycorrhizal and legume-rhizobial symbioses.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Arbuscule formation Expansin Infection threads Nodulation Rhizobia Symbioses 



This work was supported by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnològia (CONACYT grant no. 240614), PAPIIT (DGAPA-UNAM grant no. IN219916) to M.L. and DGAPA-UNAM postdoctoral fellowship (DGAP/DG0639/2016) to S.K.M.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)Ciudad de MéxicoMexico
  2. 2.Ciencias Agrogenómicas, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)GuanajuatoMexico

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