Structure and Development of the Legume-Rhizobial Symbiotic Interface in Infection Threads.

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The intracellular infection thread initiated in a root hair cell is a unique structure associated with Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. It is characterized by inverted tip growth of the plant cell wall, resulting in a tunnel that allows invasion of host cells by bacteria during the formation of the nitrogen-fixing root nodule. Regulation of the plant-microbial interface is essential for infection thread growth. This involves targeted deposition of the cell wall and extracellular matrix and tight control of cell wall remodeling. This review describes the potential role of different actors such as transcription factors, receptors, and enzymes in the rearrangement of the plant-microbial interface and control of polar infection thread growth. It also focuses on the composition of the main polymers of the infection thread wall and matrix and the participation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the development of the infection thread. Mutant analysis has helped to gain insight into the development of host defense reactions. The available data raise many new questions about the structure, function, and development of infection threads.