Legumes are able to form a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria called rhizobia. The result of this symbiosis is to form nodules on the plant root, within which the bacteria can convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia that can be used by the plant. Establishment of a successful symbiosis requires the two symbiotic partners to be compatible with each other throughout the process of symbiotic development. However, incompatibility frequently occurs, such that a bacterial strain is unable to nodulate a particular host plant or forms nodules that are incapable of fixing nitrogen. Genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate symbiotic specificity are diverse, involving a wide range of host and bacterial genes/signals with various modes of action. In this review, we will provide an update on our current knowledge of how the recognition specificity has evolved in the context of symbiosis signaling and plant immunity.

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Published in Frontiers in Plant Science, v. 9, article 313, p. 1-8.

Copyright © 2018 Wang, Liu and Zhu.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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This work was supported by United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant 2014-67013- 21573, Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation Grant 2615-RDE-015, and the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board.