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Keywords:

  • arbuscular mycorrhiza;
  • biotrophy;
  • carbon (C);
  • membranes;
  • phosphorus (P);
  • silencing

Summary

The roots of most land plants can enter a relationship with soil-borne fungi belonging to the phylum Glomeromycota. This symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi belongs to the so-called biotrophic interactions, involving the intracellular accommodation of a microorganism by a living plant cell without causing the death of the host. Although profiling technologies have generated an increasing depository of plant and fungal proteins eligible for sustaining AM accommodation and functioning, a bottleneck exists for their functional analysis as these experiments are difficult to carry out with mycorrhiza. Nonetheless, the expansion of gene-to-phenotype reverse genetic tools, including RNA interference and transposon silencing, have recently succeeded in elucidating some of the plant-related protein candidates. Likewise, despite the ongoing absence of transformation tools for AM fungi, host-induced gene silencing has allowed knockdown of fungal gene expression in planta for the first time, thus unlocking a technological limitation in deciphering the functional pertinence of glomeromycotan proteins during mycorrhizal establishment. This review is thus intended to draw a picture of our current knowledge about the plant and fungal protein actors that have been demonstrated to be functionally implicated in sustaining AM symbiosis mostly on the basis of silencing approaches.