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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2004 Aug;7(4):414-21.

Molecular genetics of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.

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  • 1The Sainsbury Laboratory, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


During arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) development, fungal hyphae grow throughout root epidermal, exodermal and cortical cell layers to reach the inner cortex where the symbiosis' functional units, the arbuscles, develop. Three essential components of a plant signalling network, a receptor-like kinase, a predicted ion-channel and a calmodulin-dependent protein kinase have been identified. A detailed morphological study of symbiotic plant mutants revealed that different subsets of plant genes support the progress of fungal infection in successive root cell layers. Moreover, evidence of a diffusible fungal signalling factor that triggers gene activation in the root has recently been obtained.

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