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Pimprikar, Priya; Gutjahr, Caroline (2018): Transcriptional Regulation of Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Development. In: Plant and Cell Physiology, Vol. 59, No. 4: pp. 678-695
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Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) is an ancient symbiosis between land plants and fungi of the glomeromycotina that is widespread in the plant kingdom. AM improves plant nutrition, stress resistance and general plant performance, and thus represents a promising addition to sustainable agricultural practices. In return for delivering mineral nutrients, the obligate biotrophic AM fungi receive up to 20% of the photosynthetically fixed carbon from the plant. AM fungi colonize the inside of roots and form highly branched tree-shaped structures, called arbuscules, in cortex cells. The pair of the arbuscule and its host cell is considered the central functional unit of the symbiosis as it mediates the bidirectional nutrient exchange between the symbionts. The development and spread of AM fungi within the root is predominantly under the control of the host plant and depends on its developmental and physiological status. Intracellular accommodation of fungal structures is enabled by the remarkable plasticity of plant cells, which undergo drastic subcellular rearrangements. These are promoted and accompanied by cell-autonomous transcriptional reprogramming. AM development can be dissected into distinct stages using plant mutants. Progress in the application of laser dissection technology has allowed the assignment of transcriptional responses to specific stages and cell types. The first transcription factors controlling AM-specific gene expression and AM development have been discovered, and cis-elements required for AM-responsive promoter activity have been identified. An understanding of their connectivity and elucidation of transcriptional networks orchestrating AM development can be expected in the near future.