This article is part of the supplement: The PAMGO Consortium: Unifying Themes In Microbe–Host Associations Identified Through The Gene Ontology
Common themes in nutrient acquisition by plant symbiotic microbes, described by the Gene Ontology
1 Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2 Current address: Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
BMC Microbiology 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S6 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-S1-S6Published: 19 February 2009
A critical function for symbionts is the acquisition of nutrients from their host. Relationships between hosts and symbionts range from biotrophic mutualism to necrotrophic parasitism, with a corresponding range of structures to facilitate nutrient flow between host and symbiont. Here, we review common themes among the nutrient acquisition strategies of a range of plant symbiotic microorganisms, including mutualistic symbionts, biotrophic pathogens that feed from living tissue, necrotrophic pathogens that kill host tissue, and hemibiotrophic pathogens that switch from biotrophy to necrotrophy. We show how Gene Ontology (GO) terms developed by the Plant-Associated Microbe Gene Ontology (PAMGO) Consortium can be used for describing commonalities in nutrient acquisition among diverse plant symbionts. Where appropriate, parallels found among animal symbionts are also highlighted.