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Plant J. 2010 Feb 1;61(3):482-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.04072.x. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Medicago truncatula Vapyrin is a novel protein required for arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is a widespread mutualism formed between vascular plants and fungi of the Glomeromycota. In this endosymbiosis, fungal hyphae enter the roots, growing through epidermal cells to the cortex where they establish differentiated hyphae called arbuscules in the cortical cells. Reprogramming of the plant epidermal and cortical cells occurs to enable intracellular growth of the fungal symbiont; however, the plant genes underlying this process are largely unknown. Here, through the use of RNAi, we demonstrate that the expression of a Medicago truncatula gene named Vapyrin is essential for arbuscule formation, and also for efficient epidermal penetration by AM fungi. Vapyrin is induced transiently in the epidermis coincident with hyphal penetration, and then in the cortex during arbuscule formation. The Vapyrin protein is cytoplasmic, and in cells containing AM fungal hyphae, the protein accumulates in small puncta that move through the cytoplasm. Vapyrin is a novel protein composed of two domains that mediate protein-protein interactions: an N-terminal VAMP-associated protein (VAP)/major sperm protein (MSP) domain and a C-terminal ankyrin-repeat domain. Putative Vapyrin orthologs exist widely in the plant kingdom, but not in Arabidopsis, or in non-plant species. The data suggest a role for Vapyrin in cellular remodeling to support the intracellular development of fungal hyphae during AM symbiosis.

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