The arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) is a symbiosis between most terrestrial plants and fungi of the ancient phylum Glomeromycota. AM improves the uptake of water and mineral nutrients, such as phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N), of the host plant in exchange for photosynthetically fixed carbon. Successful colonization and a functional interaction between host plant and mycobiont are based upon exchange of signaling molecules at different stages of symbiosis development. Strigolactones, a novel class of plant hormones, are secreted by plant roots stimulating presymbiotic growth of AM fungi. Fungi release soluble signaling molecules, the enigmatic 'Myc factors', that activate early symbiotic root responses. Lysophosphatidylcholine is a lipophilic intraradical mycorrhizal signal triggering plant phosphate transporter gene expression late in AM development through a P-controlled transcriptional mechanism. This enables uptake of orthophosphate released from the AM fungus. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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