The molecular components of nutrient exchange in arbuscular mycorrhizal am interactions
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The Molecular Components of Nutrient Exchange in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) interactions. PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Molecular Components of Nutrient Exchange in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) interactions. .

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The Molecular Components of Nutrient Exchange in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) interactions.

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The Molecular Components of Nutrient Exchange in ArbuscularMycorrhizal (AM) interactions.

  • Arbuscularmycorrhizas, or AM (formerly known as vesicular-arbuscularmycorrhizas, or VAM), are mycorrhizas whose hyphae enter into the plant cells, producing structures that are either balloon-like (vesicles) or dichotomously branching invaginations (arbuscules).

Vesicular Arbuscularmycorrhizae

  • VAM is a type of mycorrhiza in which the fungus penetrates the cortical cells of the roots of a vascular plant.

  • characterized by the formation of unique structures, arbuscules and vesicles by fungi of the phylum Glomeromycota (VAM fungi).

  • VAM fungi help plants to capture nutrients such as phosphorus, sulfur, nitrogen and micronutrients from the soil. 

  • It is believed that the development of the arbuscularmycorrhizal symbiosis played a crucial role in the initial colonisation of land by plants and in the evolution of the vascular plants.

  • VAM – much less known about these associations than about ectomycorrhizae.

  • Appear to be the most common type of mycorrhizal association with respect to the number of plant species that form them

  • Found in species in all divisions of terrestrial plants – widely distributed in annuals, perennials, temperate and tropical trees, crop and wild plants

  • Estimated to occur on 300,000 plant spp.

Arbuscularmycorrhizal fungi 

  • All are in the Zygomycota in the Glomales – or newly proposed phylum Glomeromycota

  • Include 130 species in 6 genera 

  • All are obligate biotrophs

  • Form large spores that superficially resemble zygospores, but not formed from fusion of gametangia – azygospores or chlamydospores

  • Spore diameters range from 50 to 400 μm


  • Surrounded by plant cell membrane

  • Typically disintegrate after ca 2 weeks in plant cell and release nutrients

  • Thought to be site of nutrient exchange


  • Intercellular hyphae may also form large swellings – vesicles – at ends of hyphae or in

  • Typically rich in lipids & thought to be involved in storagetercalary

  • Arbuscularmycorrhizaeis not as well characterized as ectomycorrhizae.

  • Root is not altered in morphology – difficult to determine when roots are infected – must clear and stain followed by microscopic examination

  • Fungi are obligate biotrophs – cannot be grown in axenic culture – so difficult to conduct experiments


  • Fungus receives organic nutrition from plant – since they are biotrophs, don’t know what their requirements are

  • Fungus produces extramatricalhyphae that take up inorganic nutrients from soil – particularly P, may also supply N as they may produce proteinases

  • Increase drought tolerance – many common desert plants are heavily mycorrhizal

  • May also increase resistance to root pathogens

Effect of AM

  • Growth of plants that are infected better – particularly if soil is poor in nutrients

Roles of AM in Plant Phosphorus Nutrition

  • Interaction between pathways of Phosphorus uptake in AM roots have important implications for understanding and manipulating plant phosphorus acquisition.

  • The two pathways of P uptake in an AM root involve different regions of the root, different cell types, and different Pi transporters.

  • Possible signaling events in AM roots based on studies of Pi starvation in nonmycorrhizalplants.

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