Understanding the Arbuscule at the Heart of Endomycorrhizal Symbioses in Plants

Curr Biol. 2017 Sep 11;27(17):R952-R963. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.042.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi form associations with most land plants and facilitate nutrient uptake from the soil, with the plant receiving mineral nutrients from the fungus and in return providing the fungus with fixed carbon. This nutrient exchange takes place through highly branched fungal structures called arbuscules that are formed in cortical cells of the host root. Recent discoveries have highlighted the importance of fatty acids, in addition to sugars, acting as the form of fixed carbon transferred from the plant to the fungus and several studies have begun to elucidate the mechanisms that control the plant processes necessary for fungal colonisation and arbuscule development. In this review, we analyse the mechanisms that allow arbuscule development and the processes necessary for nutrient exchange between the plant and the fungus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Fungi / growth & development
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Mycorrhizae / growth & development
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / microbiology*
  • Plant Roots / physiology*
  • Symbiosis


  • Carbon