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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Oct;6(20):2897-903.

Molecular mechanisms of attachment of Rhizobium bacteria to plant roots.

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Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Leiden University, The Netherlands.


Attachment of bacteria to plant cells is one of the earliest steps in many plant-bacterium interactions. This review covers the current knowledge on one of the best-studied examples of bacterium-plant attachment, namely the molecular mechanism by which Rhizobium bacteria adhere to plant roots. Despite differences in several studies with regard to growth conditions of bacteria and plants and to methods used for measuring attachment, an overall consensus can be drawn from the available data. Rhizobial attachment to plant root hairs appears to be a two-step process. A bacterial Ca(2+)-binding protein, designated as rhicadhesin, is involved in direct attachment of bacteria to the surface of the root hair cell. Besides this step, there is another step which results mainly in accumulation and anchoring of the bacteria to the surface of the root hair. This leads to so-called firm attachment. Depending on the growth conditions of the bacteria, the latter step is mediated by plant lectins and/or by bacterial appendages such as cellulose fibrils and fimbriae. The possible role of these adhesions in root nodule formation is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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