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Cell Microbiol. 2012 Mar;14(3):334-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2011.01736.x. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Symbiosis specificity in the legume: rhizobial mutualism.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Legume plants are able to engage in root nodule symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, collectively called rhizobia. This mutualistic association is highly specific, such that each rhizobial species/strain interacts with only a specific group of legumes, and vice versa. Symbiosis specificity can occur at multiple phases of the interaction, ranging from initial bacterial attachment and infection to late nodule development associated with nitrogen fixation. Genetic control of symbiosis specificity is complex, involving fine-tuned signal communication between the symbiotic partners. Here we review our current understanding of the mechanisms used by the host and bacteria to choose their symbiotic partners, with a special focus on the role that the host immunity plays in controlling the specificity of the legume - rhizobial symbiosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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