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Science. 2009 May 8;324(5928):753-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1171644.

Reprogramming plant cells for endosymbiosis.

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  • 1Department of Disease and Stress Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


The establishment of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses, formed by most flowering plants in association with glomeromycotan fungi, and the root-nodule (RN) symbiosis, formed by legume plants and rhizobial bacteria, requires an ongoing molecular dialogue that underpins the reprogramming of root cells for compatibility. In both endosymbioses, there are distinct phases to the interaction, including a presymbiotic anticipation phase and, subsequently, an intraradical accommodation of the microsymbiont. Maintenance of the endosymbiosis then depends on reciprocal nutrient exchange with the microsymbiont-obtaining plant photosynthates in exchange for mineral nutrients: enhanced phosphate and nitrogen uptake from AM fungi and fixed nitrogen from rhizobia. Despite the taxonomically distinct groups of symbionts, commonalities are observed in the signaling components and the modulation of host cell responses in both AM and RN symbioses, reflecting common mechanisms for plant cell reprogramming during endosymbiosis.

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