Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (5): 493-515.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0143

• Reviews •     Next Articles

Research progress and prospect of signal transfer among plants mediated by arbuscular mycorrhizal networks

XIE Wei1, HAO Zhi-Peng1, ZHANG Xin1, CHEN Bao-Dong1,2,*()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-04-17 Accepted:2021-10-05 Online:2022-05-20 Published:2021-12-16
  • Contact: CHEN Bao-Dong
  • Supported by:
    National Key R&D Program of China(2016YFC0500702);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42077039)


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are a group of soil-dwelling fungi that can form symbiotic associations with most terrestrial plants. The extraradical mycelium can colonize different plant roots in addition to hyphal fusion, thus form extensive arbuscular mycorrhizal networks (AMNs) underground. AMNs can transport and recycle water and nutrients including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus among plants, recent evidences show that AMNs can also transfer defensive signals to neighboring plants when plants suffer environmental stresses, thus providing early warning to surrounding neighbors. However, the research on AMNs-mediated signal transfer is still in its infancy. Here, we firstly reviewed current research progresses in this research area, then proposed the unanswered questions that worth exploration in the future, including the possible pathways and mechanisms of signal transfer via AMNs among plants, the possible regulation of mycorrhizal symbionts by AMNs-mediated signal transfer, and the common techniques and their development used in the study of AMNs. Finally, we discussed about the possible ecological applications of AMNs such as filed crop protection.

Key words: environmental stress, defensive response, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, mycorrhizal networks, signal transfer