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A petunia mutant affected in intracellular accommodation and morphogenesis of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

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Summary

The regulation of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is largely under the control of a genetic programme of the plant host. This programme includes a common symbiosis signalling pathway that is shared with the root nodule symbiosis. Whereas this common pathway has been investigated in detail, little is known about the mycorrhiza-specific regulatory steps upstream and downstream of the common pathway. To get further insight in the regulation of the AM symbiosis, a transposon-mutagenized population of Petunia hybrida was screened for mutants with defects in AM development. Here, we describe a petunia mutant, penetration and arbuscule morphogenesis1 (pam1), which is characterized by a strong decrease in colonization by three different AM fungi. Penetrating hyphae are frequently aborted in epidermal cells. Occasionally the fungus can progress to the cortex, but fails to develop arbuscules. The resulting hyphal colonization of the cortex in mutant plants does not support symbiotic acquisition of phosphate and copper by the plant. Expression analysis of three petunia orthologues of the common SYM genes LjPOLLUX, LjSYMRK and MtDMI3 indicates that pam1 is not mutated in these genes. We conclude that the PAM1 gene may play a specific role in intracellular accommodation and morphogenesis of the fungal endosymbiont.

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