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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2003 Aug;6(4):343-50.

Signaling in symbiosis.

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  • 1Wageningen University, Department of Plant Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Dreijenlaan 3, 6703HA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


In recent years, the major focus in nodulation research has been on the genetic dissection of Nod-factor signaling. Components of this pathway appear to be shared with signaling processes that are induced during the formation of mycorrhiza. With the cloning of orthologs of the NIN and DMI2 genes from several legumes, the molecular characteristics of components of the Nod-factor-signaling pathway are now starting to be revealed. Orthologs of HAR1, a key player in the systemic autoregulatory mechanism controlling nodule numbers, have also been cloned recently. The mechanism by which nodulation is autoregulated is related to that by which fixed nitrogen inhibits nodulation. Genes that are involved in Nod-factor signaling may be targets for mechanisms that suppress nodulation. If this is the case, it would bring two fascinating areas of symbiosis together.

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