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Mycol Res. 2004 Sep;108(Pt 9):1079-88.

Isolated root caps, border cells, and mucilage from host roots stimulate hyphal branching of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Gigaspora gigantea.

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  • 1Eastern Regional Research Center, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA.


Unlike previous reports that have shown that water soluble and volatile compounds from roots or root exudates play an important role in precolonization events during arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus-host root interactions (Bécard & Piché 1989, Giovannetti et al. 1993), the results shown here deal with particulate and viscous fractions isolated from host roots. Root caps and a slow sedimenting particulate fraction (SSPF) were rapidly isolated and separated from Ri T-DNA transformed carrot roots (D. carota) grown in liquid culture. In addition, border cells (BC) and mucilage were isolated from aseptically grown corn seedlings (Zea mays). Root caps, SSPF (composed mainly of small root cap fragments and some BCs), BCs, and mucilage all had an associated AM fungus hyphal branching stimulator. Root caps stored for 5 d at 4 degrees C appeared to either synthesize or slowly release the branching stimulator. Also, isolated root caps from roots grown in the absence of P contained more branch stimulating activity than those isolated from roots grown in the presence of P. Although the branching stimulation activity in particulate fractions was low compared to that of the exudate, the particulate fractions can stick to the root surface at considerable distances from the root tip. This may be significant during the infection and colonization of host roots at sites far removed from the primary location of exudation.

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