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The underground network: Decoding the dynamics of plant-fungal symbiosis by Boyce Thompson Institute


The intricate dance of nature often unfolds in mysterious ways, hidden from the naked eye. At the heart of this enigmatic tango lies a vital partnership: the symbiosis between plants and a type of fungi known as arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi.

New research, published in the journal Science, delves into this partnership, revealing key insights that deepen our understanding of plant-AM fungi interactions and could lead to advances in sustainable agriculture.

AM fungi live within plant root cells, forming a unique alliance with their plant hosts. This relationship is more than a simple coexistence; it involves a complex and critical exchange of nutrients essential for fungal survival and highly beneficial for the plant.

Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) have uncovered the roles of two proteins, CKL1 and CKL2, which are active only in the root cells containing the AM fungi. These two proteins belong to a larger family of proteins known as CKLs, whose functions in the plant have yet to be fully understood.

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