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Nature. 2011 Jan 6;469(7328):58-63. doi: 10.1038/nature09622.

Fungal lipochitooligosaccharide symbiotic signals in arbuscular mycorrhiza.

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Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes, UMR 441/2594 INRA-CNRS, B.P. 52627, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan CEDEX, France.


Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) is a root endosymbiosis between plants and glomeromycete fungi. It is the most widespread terrestrial plant symbiosis, improving plant uptake of water and mineral nutrients. Yet, despite its crucial role in land ecosystems, molecular mechanisms leading to its formation are just beginning to be unravelled. Recent evidence suggests that AM fungi produce diffusible symbiotic signals. Here we show that Glomus intraradices secretes symbiotic signals that are a mixture of sulphated and non-sulphated simple lipochitooligosaccharides (LCOs), which stimulate formation of AM in plant species of diverse families (Fabaceae, Asteraceae and Umbelliferae). In the legume Medicago truncatula these signals stimulate root growth and branching by the symbiotic DMI signalling pathway. These findings provide a better understanding of the evolution of signalling mechanisms involved in plant root endosymbioses and will greatly facilitate their molecular dissection. They also open the way to using these natural and very active molecules in agriculture.

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