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Phytochemistry. 2007 Jan;68(1):33-40. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Plant signals and fungal perception during arbuscular mycorrhiza establishment.

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Institute of Applied Biosciences, Plant-Fungal Interaction Group, University of Karlsruhe, Hertzstrasse 16, D-76187 Karlsruhe, Germany.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are obligate symbionts that need their plant hosts to complete their life cycle. In the absence of the plant, germlings arrest growth after a few days and retract most of their cytoplasm back into the multinuclear spores. The spores can germinate again during more favorable conditions. How AM fungi recognize compatible host roots and activate their symbiotic program is not yet understood. However, research in this field in the last years has shed light into this topic. We, and others, have approached some of these aspects by studying changes in fungal gene expression observed at early stages of development, before and at the plant recognition stage in an attempt to identify genes and proteins featuring as key regulators in the switch between the asymbiotic and symbiotic style of life. The molecular bases of this recognition process are now starting to be understood and point to common signaling pathways shared with other microbe-plant associations and to arbuscular mycorrhiza specific signaling pathways.

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