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New Phytol. 2015 Mar;205(4):1448-53. doi: 10.1111/nph.13115. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

Interplant signalling through hyphal networks.

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Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Cruickshank Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3UU, UK.


Mycorrhizal fungi can form common mycelial networks (CMNs) that interconnect plants. Here, we provide an insight into recent findings demonstrating that CMNs can be conduits for interplant signalling, influencing defence against insect herbivores and foliar necrotrophic fungi. A likely mechanism is direct transfer of signalling molecules within hyphae. However, electrical signals, which can be induced by wounding, may also enable signalling over relatively long distances, because the biophysical constraints imposed by liquid transport in hyphae and interaction with soil are relieved. We do not yet understand the ecological, evolutionary and agronomic implications of interplant signalling via CMNs. Identifying the mechanism of interplant signalling will help to address these gaps.


aphids; communication; electrical and chemical signalling; evolution; fitness; herbivory; mycorrhiza; volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

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