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How the nutrient status of the plant controls its engagement with microorganisms

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Plants associate with microorganisms in the rhizosphere, with potential for benefit or detriment. Perception of micro-organisms involves recognition of chitooligosaccharides (COs) from fungal cell walls or peptidoglycan (PGN) from bacterial envelopes to induce an immunogenic response. However, recognition of microbial surfaces does not discriminate a pathogen from a symbiont and consistently we show that COs and PGN can also activate symbiosis signaling in roots of Medicago truncatula and such CO perception promotes colonisation by symbiotic fungi. The nutrient status of the plant dictates the degree to which a symbiotic or immunity response is activated: nutrient starved plants preference symbiosis; nutrient replete plants immunity. Our work reveals how plants adapts their reaction to the microbial community, being welcoming or restrictive according to their need for microbial nutrient services.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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