Commonalities in Symbiotic Plant-Microbe Signalling

R. Holmer, L.J.J. Rutten, W. Kohlen, R. van Velzen, R. Geurts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Plants face the problem that they have to discriminate symbionts from a diverse pool of soil microbes, including pathogens. Studies on different symbiotic systems revealed commonalities in plant-microbe signalling. In this chapter we focus on four intimate symbiotic interactions: two mycorrhizal ones, with arbuscular- and ectomycorrhizal fungi, and two nitrogen-fixing ones, with rhizobium and Frankia bacteria. Comparing these systems uncovered commonalities in the way plants attract their symbiotic partners. Especially flavonoids, and in a lesser extent strigolactones, are pivotal plant signals that are perceived by the microsymbiont. In response, signal molecules are exuded by the microbes to trigger symbiotic responses in their host plant. Strikingly, microbes that establish an endosymbiotic relation with their host plant, namely arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobium and Frankia bacteria, make use of a symbiotic signalling network that is highly conserved in plants. The use of flavonoids as attractants for symbiotic microbes, in combination with the use of a common plant signalling network to establish endosymbioses, raises questions about how plants manage to discriminate their microbial partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-221
JournalAdvances in Botanical Research
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Ectomycorrhiza
  • Endomycorrhiza
  • Frankia
  • Rhizobium
  • Symbiosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Commonalities in Symbiotic Plant-Microbe Signalling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this