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MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR ASPECTS OF THE ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL SYMBIOSIS.

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1
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402; e-mail: mjharrison@noble.org

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizae are symbiotic associations formed between a wide range of plant species including angiosperms, gymnosperms, pteridophytes, and some bryophytes, and a limited range of fungi belonging to a single order, the Glomales. The symbiosis develops in the plant roots where the fungus colonizes the apoplast and cells of the cortex to access carbon supplied by the plant. The fungal contribution to the symbiosis is complex, but a major aspect includes the transfer of mineral nutrients, particularly phosphate from the soil to the plant. Development of this highly compatible association requires the coordinate molecular and cellular differentiation of both symbionts to form specialized interfaces over which bi-directional nutrient transfer occurs. Recent insights into the molecular events underlying these aspects of the symbiosis are discussed.

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