Interplant signalling through hyphal networks

David Johnson* (Corresponding Author), Lucy Gilbert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


I. II. III. IV. V. VI. References SUMMARY: Mycorrhizal fungi can form common mycelial networks (CMNs) that interconnect plants. Here, we provide an insight into recent findings demonstrating that CMNs can be conduits for interplant signalling, influencing defence against insect herbivores and foliar necrotrophic fungi. A likely mechanism is direct transfer of signalling molecules within hyphae. However, electrical signals, which can be induced by wounding, may also enable signalling over relatively long distances, because the biophysical constraints imposed by liquid transport in hyphae and interaction with soil are relieved. We do not yet understand the ecological, evolutionary and agronomic implications of interplant signalling via CMNs. Identifying the mechanism of interplant signalling will help to address these gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1448-1453
Number of pages6
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
Early online date24 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.
We thank Martin Heil, two anonymous referees and Marc-Andre
Selosse for their comments. L.G. was supported by the Scottish
Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical
Services Division (RESAS)


  • aphids
  • communication
  • electrical and chemical signalling
  • evolution
  • fitness
  • herbivory
  • mycorrhiza
  • volatile organic compunds (VOCs)


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