Scientists from INRA and Lorraine University in France unraveled a key mechanism in the symbiosis between fungi and trees. During this mutually beneficial interaction, the fungus takes control of its host plant by injecting a small protein that neutralizes its immune defenses thereby allowing the fungus to colonize the plant. This finding is a major advance in our understanding of the evolution and functioning of symbiotic interactions between fungi and plants — relationships that play a significant role in supporting the health and sustainability of our natural ecosystems. These results are published in the advance online edition of the PNAS on 19 May 2014.
In the complex world of the rhizosphere — the soil surrounding plant roots — thousands of species of bacteria and fungi compete for resources released by plants. Some fungi, such as truffles and boletus, are able to live in symbiosis with plants through their roots, by-passing…
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