Plants associate with a wide range of microorganisms, with both detrimental and beneficial outcomes. Central to plant survival is the ability to recognize invading microorganisms and either limit their intrusion, in the case of pathogens, or promote the association, in the case of symbionts. To aid in this recognition process, elaborate communication and counter-communication systems have been established that determine the degree of ingress of the microorganism into the host plant. In this Review, I describe the common signalling processes used by plants during mutualistic interactions with microorganisms as diverse as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobial bacteria.

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