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Cell. 1992 Oct 16;71(2):191-9.

Molecular signals in the interactions between plants and microbes.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


The field of plant-microbe interactions has witnessed several recent breakthroughs, such as the molecular details of vir gene induction, identification of Nod factors, and the cloning and characterization of avr genes. Other breakthroughs, such as the cloning and characterization of R genes, appear imminent. Parallels to mammalian systems are emerging in the world of plant-microbe interactions, for example, ion channels formed by Rhizobium proteins, similarities of hrp genes to pathogenicity genes of mammalian pathogens, and plant signal transduction via calcium and protein phosphorylation. We remain, however, largely ignorant of many facets of signaling in plant-microbe interactions. We know little about how microbial signals are perceived by plants or how subsequent signal transduction occurs within plant cells and are probably unaware of many of the microbe-generated signals to which plants respond or of plant-generated signals to which bacteria and fungi respond. Contributions from those working on the genetics, molecular biology, and physiology of bacteria, fungi, and plants will be required to address these questions. The many nonpathogenic plant-microbe interactions in addition to the Rhizobium-plant interaction remain relatively unexplored. Genetic and molecular approaches are being initiated to investigate the signaling that is likely to underlie interactions such as those between mycorrhizal fungi and plant roots and between epiphytic bacteria and plant leaf surfaces. The importance of these interactions to plant growth and development makes it likely that they will figure more prominently at future symposia.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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