Manipulation of auxin transport in plant roots during Rhizobium symbiosis and nematode parasitism.
The plant rhizosphere harbors many different microorganisms, ranging from plant growth-promoting bacteria to devastating plant parasites. Some of these microbes are able to induce de novo organ formation in infected roots. Certain soil bacteria, collectively called rhizobia, form a symbiotic interaction with legumes, leading to the formation of nitrogen-fixing root nodules. Sedentary endoparasitic nematodes, on the other hand, induce highly specialized feeding sites in infected plant roots from which they withdraw nutrients. In order to establish these new root structures, it is thought that these organisms use and manipulate the endogenous molecular and physiological pathways of their hosts. Over the years, evidence has accumulated reliably demonstrating the involvement of the plant hormone auxin. Moreover, the auxin responses during microbe-induced de novo organ formation seem to be dynamic, suggesting that plant-associated microbes can actively modify their host's auxin transport. In this review, we focus on recent findings in auxin transport mechanisms during plant development and on how plant symbionts and parasites have evolved to manipulate these mechanisms for their own purposes.