17 September 2018

Arbuscular mycorrhizal phenotyping: the do’s and don’t’s

Hector Montero, Jeongmin Choi, Uta Paszkowski - New Phytologist, 2018


Most plant lineages engage with Glomeromycotina fungi to form the ubiquitous arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis. Despite its wide occurrence in diverse plant–fungal species combinations, the interaction dynamics are strikingly uniform (Fig. 1). The events leading up to a successful mutualism start when plant and fungus advertise their presence in the rhizosphere by releasing diffusible chemical cues. In vascular plants this presymbiotic dialog results in physical contact whereby extraradical hyphae differentiate into hyphopodia on the surface of roots preceding fungal entry. Intraradical hyphal passage is followed by fungal accommodation in cortical cells to foster arbuscules. This is accompanied by the rapid formation of plant and fungal membranes in juxtaposition to each other, resulting in a magnified surface area. The mutualistic nature of the association manifests here as the reciprocal exchange of nutrients occurs. Subsequently formed fungal vesicles and spores are symptomatic of a sustained association. At the whole-root level, symbiosis establishment is considered asynchronous as all AM fungal symbiotic structures can be found simultaneously. However, at the infection unit resolution, every stage depends on the preceding one reflecting that precise molecular programs dynamically coordinate the interaction.

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