The serine carboxypeptidases are a large family of proteases. in higher plants some members of this family have diversified and adopted new functions as acyltransferases required for the synthesis of natural products. we recently reported the first serine carboxypeptidase-like (scpl) acyltransferase enzyme to be characterized from monocotyledonous plants.1 This enzyme, AsSCPL1, is required for acylation of antimicrobial terpenes (avenacins) that are produced in the roots of oat (Avena spp.) and that provide protection against soil-borne pathogens. The SCPL acyltransferase enzyme family has undergone substantial expansion following the divergence of monocots and dicots. Here we discuss the evolution of this SCPL enzyme family in monocots, their contribution to metabolic diversity, and the roles of these enzymes in biotic and abiotic stress tolerance.
serine carboxypeptidase-like proteins; acyltransferases; disease resistance; grasses; cereals; oat; Avena; stress tolerance; anthocyanins; SCPL
The broad distribution and high colonization rates of plant roots by a variety of endophytic fungi suggest that these symbionts have an important role in the function of ecosystems. Semiarid and arid lands cover more than one-third of the terrestrial ecosystems on Earth. However, a limited number of studies have been conducted to characterize root-associated fungal communities in semiarid grasslands. We conducted a study of the fungal community associated with the roots of a dominant grass, Bouteloua gracilis, at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Internal transcribed spacer ribosomal DNA sequences from roots collected in May 2005, October 2005, and January 2006 were amplified using fungal-specific primers, and a total of 630 sequences were obtained, 69% of which were novel (less than 97% similarity with respect to sequences in the NCBI database). B. gracilis roots were colonized by at least 10 different orders, including endophytic, coprophilous, mycorrhizal, saprophytic, and plant pathogenic fungi. A total of 51 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were found, and diversity estimators did not show saturation. Despite the high diversity found within B. gracilis roots, the root-associated fungal community is dominated by a novel group of dark septate fungi (DSF) within the order Pleosporales. Microscopic analysis confirmed that B. gracilis roots are highly colonized by DSF. Other common orders colonizing the roots included Sordariales, Xylariales, and Agaricales. By contributing to drought tolerance and nutrient acquisition, DSF may be integral to the function of arid ecosystems.
In terrestrial ecosystems, plant roots are colonized by various clades of mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi. Focused on the root systems of an oak-dominated temperate forest in Japan, we used 454 pyrosequencing to explore how phylogenetically diverse fungi constitute an ecological community of multiple ecotypes. In total, 345 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of fungi were found from 159 terminal-root samples from 12 plant species occurring in the forest. Due to the dominance of an oak species (Quercus serrata), diverse ectomycorrhizal clades such as Russula, Lactarius, Cortinarius, Tomentella, Amanita, Boletus, and Cenococcum were observed. Unexpectedly, the root-associated fungal community was dominated by root-endophytic ascomycetes in Helotiales, Chaetothyriales, and Rhytismatales. Overall, 55.3% of root samples were colonized by both the commonly observed ascomycetes and ectomycorrhizal fungi; 75.0% of the root samples of the dominant Q. serrata were so cocolonized. Overall, this study revealed that root-associated fungal communities of oak-dominated temperate forests were dominated not only by ectomycorrhizal fungi but also by diverse root endophytes and that potential ecological interactions between the two ecotypes may be important to understand the complex assembly processes of belowground fungal communities.
454 next-generation sequencing; dark septate endophytes; fungal communities; metagenomics; mycorrhizae; network theory
Dark septate endophytic (DSE) fungi represent a frequent root-colonizing fungal group common in environments with strong abiotic stress, such as (semi)arid ecosystems. This work aimed to study the DSE fungi colonizing the plants of semiarid sandy grasslands with wood steppe patches on the Great Hungarian Plain. As we may assume that fungi colonizing both invasive and native species are generalists, root associated fungi (RAF) were isolated from eight native and three invasive plant species. The nrDNA sequences of the isolates were used for identification. To confirm that the fungi were endophytes an artificial inoculation system was used to test the isolates: we considered a fungus as DSE if it colonized the roots without causing a negative effect on the plant and formed microsclerotia in the roots. According to the analyses of the ITS sequence of nrDNA the 296 isolates clustered into 41 groups. We found that 14 of these 41 groups were DSE, representing approximately 60% of the isolates. The main DSE groups were generalist and showed no specificity to area or season and colonized both native and invasive species, demonstrating that exotic plants are capable of using the root endophytic fungi of the invaded areas. The DSE community of the region shows high similarity to those found in arid grasslands of North America. Taking into account a previous hypothesis about the common root colonizers of those grasslands and our results reported here, we hypothesize that plants of (semi)arid grasslands share common dominant members of the DSE fungal community on a global scale.
This work investigated biostimulation and bioaugmentation as strategies for removing polyurethane (PU) waste in soil. Soil microcosms were biostimulated with the PU dispersion agent “Impranil” and/or yeast extract or were bioaugmented with PU-degrading fungi, and the degradation of subsequently buried PU was determined. Fungal communities in the soil and colonizing buried PU were enumerated on solid media and were analyzed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Biostimulation with yeast extract alone or in conjunction with Impranil increased PU degradation 62% compared to the degradation in untreated control soil and was associated with a 45% increase in putative PU degraders colonizing PU. Specific fungi were enriched in soil following biostimulation; however, few of these fungi colonized the surface of buried PU. Fungi used for soil bioaugmentation were cultivated on the surface of sterile wheat to form a mycelium-rich inoculum. Wheat, when added alone to soil, increased PU degradation by 28%, suggesting that wheat biomass had a biostimulating effect. Addition of wheat colonized with Nectria haematococca, Penicillium viridicatum, Penicillium ochrochloron, or an unidentified Mucormycotina sp. increased PU degradation a further 30 to 70%, suggesting that biostimulation and bioaugmentation were operating in concert to enhance PU degradation. Interestingly, few of the inoculated fungi could be detected by DGGE in the soil or on the surface of the PU 4 weeks after inoculation. Bioaugmentation did, however, increase the numbers of indigenous PU-degrading fungi and caused an inoculum-dependent change in the composition of the native fungal populations, which may explain the increased degradation observed. These results demonstrate that both biostimulation and bioaugmentation may be viable tools for the remediation of environments contaminated with polyurethane waste.
The ability of nematode-trapping fungi to colonize the rhizosphere of crop plants has been suggested to be an important factor in biological control of root-infecting nematodes. In this study, rhizosphere colonization was evaluated for 38 isolates of nematode-trapping fungi representing 11 species. In an initial screen, Arthrobotrys dactyloides, A. superba, and Monacrosporium ellipsosporum were most frequently detected in the tomato rhizosphere. In subsequent pot experiments these fungi and the non-root colonizing M. geophyropagum were introduced to soil in a sodium alginate matrix, and further tested both for establishment in the tomato rhizosphere and suppression of root-knot nematodes. The knob-forming M. ellipsosporum showed a high capacity to colonize the rhizosphere both in the initial screen and the pot experiments, with more than twice as many fungal propagules in the rhizosphere as in the root-free soil. However, neither this fungus nor the other nematode-trapping fungi tested reduced nematode damage to tomato plants.
Arthrobotrys dactyloides; Arthrobotrys superba; biological control; Meloidogyne incognita; Meloidogyne javanica; Monacrosporium ellipsosporum; Monacrosporium geophyropagum; nematode; nematodetrapping fungi; rhizosphere; root-knot nematodes; tomato
We have developed a DNA-based assay to reliably detect brown rot and white rot fungi in wood at different stages of decay. DNA, isolated by a series of CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) and organic extractions, was amplified by the PCR using published universal primers and basidiomycete-specific primers derived from ribosomal DNA sequences. We surveyed 14 species of wood-decaying basidiomycetes (brown-rot and white-rot fungi), as well as 25 species of wood-inhabiting ascomycetes (pathogens, endophytes, and saprophytes). DNA was isolated from pure cultures of these fungi and also from spruce wood blocks colonized by individual isolates of wood decay basidiomycetes or wood-inhabiting ascomycetes. The primer pair ITS1-F (specific for higher fungi) and ITS4 (universal primer) amplified the internal transcribed spacer region from both ascomycetes and basidiomycetes from both pure culture and wood, as expected. The primer pair ITS1-F (specific for higher fungi) and ITS4-B (specific for basidiomycetes) was shown to reliably detect the presence of wood decay basidiomycetes in both pure culture and wood; ascomycetes were not detected by this primer pair. We detected the presence of decay fungi in wood by PCR before measurable weight loss had occurred to the wood. Basidiomycetes were identified to the species level by restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the internal transcribed spacer region.
The fungicide benomyl has long been known to differentially affect major taxonomic groups of fungi. In the present study 163 species or aggregates of closely similar species of medically important fungi and actinomycetes, as well as species commonly isolated as clinical contaminants, were tested to determine their reactions to three concentrations of benomyl. Fungi of basidiomycetous, endomycetous, and microascaceous affinities were highly resistant, including all common yeasts and Geotrichum, Pseudallescheria, Scedosporium, and Scopulariopsis species. Also resistant were fungi of pleosporalean affinities with poroconidial anamorphs, such as Alternaria, Bipolaris, Curvularia, and Exserohilum species. Most other fungi of ascomycetous affinity were moderately to strongly susceptible. Such fungi included dermatophytes; Coccidioides, Blastomyces, and Histoplasma species; Sporothrix schenckii; medically important aspergilli; and "black yeasts." Benomyl testing aided in the provisional identification of nonsporulating mycelia, including common basidiomycetous isolates obtained as contaminants as well as nonsporulating Aspergillus fumigatus from pulmonary sources.
Wood-inhabiting fungi, not necessarily responsible for major decay, are shown to be capable of degrading a toxic compound into a less potent form, thus rendering it less effective in protecting wood from decay by less-tolerant basidiomycetous wood-destroyers. Sweetgum or pine sapwood blocks treated with preservatives (ammoniacal copper arsenate, fluor-chrome-arsenate-dinitrophenol, a creosote or pentachlorophenol) were exposed progressively to two different wood-inhabiting fungi with sterilization between the first and second exposure. The fungus in the first exposure was usually an Ascomycete or a Fungi Imperfecti—Chaetomium globosum, Phoma, Orbicula, Graphium, Pestalozzia, or Trichoderma species, isolated from wood below the ground. In one experiment, the fungus in the first exposure was a basidiomycete, Lenzites trabea or Polyporus versicolor. The second fungus, a prominent Basidiomycete—Coniophora puteana, Lentinus lepideus, or Lenzites trabea—was the bioassay fungus, since its purpose was to show whether the first fungus had degraded the preservative. Generally, the treated block, except where exposed to another fungus, remained virtually untouched by the bioassay fungus. Clearly, therefore, the first fungus had rendered the preservative ineffective but without appreciably decaying the wood itself Chemical analyses of treated blocks indicated that in the first exposure the fungi had substantially depleted sodium arsenate and pentachlorophenol.
The minimum growth-inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of azole antifungals were compared to their minimum sterol 14α-demethylation-inhibitory concentrations (MDICs) for clinical fungal isolates. The ascomycetous Candida yeasts tested were clearly divided into two groups: group I, consisting of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. lusitaniae, had MICs that were much higher than the MDICs, whereas group II, comprising C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. guilliermondii, and C. krusei, had MICs that were approximately equal to the MDICs. In the ascomycetous fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Sporothrix schenckii, the MICs were indistinguishable from the MDICs. In the basidiomycetous fungi Cryptococcus (Filobasidiella) neoformans, C. curvatus, and Trichosporon asahii, the MICs and the MDICs were practically identical. These results support the notion that there are two distinct classes of fungi differing in their degree of tolerance to sterol 14α-demethylation deficiency. These findings have significant implications for both fungal physiology and antifungal chemotherapy.
In this study, we investigated the pattern of short-term temporal variation in the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and physico-chemical edaphic properties of some wheat growing areas of the Bundelkhand region, Central India. Rhizospheric soil samples were collected every month from December 2007 to May 2008 from four wheat growing sites around Jhansi (Bundelkhand region). AM fungal root colonization, sporulation and physico-chemical edaphic properties during this period were determined and compared to evaluate the dynamics of response of wheat towards the AMF along crop maturation. Maximum AMF root colonization recorded was 54.3% indicating that AMF, particularly in low phosphorus (P) soils, can be important even in case of less responsive crop like wheat. In the two out of four sites studied, the AMF spore density increased with the increase in soil temperature. Absence of this type of pattern in remaining two sites indicated that site-specific environmental and agricultural conditions may affect the degree of wheat response to AMF. It also suggested that AMF communities inhabiting agroecosystems may exhibit considerable temporal sporulation patterns. The maximum AMF colonization was observed during February–March 2008, whereas maximum AMF sporulation was noticed during March–April 2008. Statistically significant negative correlation of AMF spore density with pH, organic carbon (OC) and available P was observed in the one of the sites studied. Overall assessment of the data indicated that season and location significantly affected the interaction of AM fungi with winter wheat necessitating the further need to understand the ecology of AMF populations with reference to specific host species under different micro-climatic conditions of Bundelkhand region.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Sporulation dynamics; Edaphic properties; Temporal variation; Wheat; Rhizosphere
The relationship between root stunting caused by the cereal cyst nematode and levels of two root growth inhibiting hormones, abscisic acid and ethylene, was investigated in aseptically cultured root segments and in intact roots of two oat cultivars differing in tolerance to the nematode. Cultured root segments of oat cultivars New Zealand Cape (tolerant) and Sual (intolerant) were inoculated with sterilized Heterodera avenae second-stage juveniles. Suppressed growth of root axes and emerged laterals following nematode penetration corresponded to an increase in abscisic acid and ethylene in roots of both intolerant and tolerant cultivars. When the experiment was repeated on intact root systems, nematodes retarded root growth of Sual more than New Zealand Cape despite an increase in ABA and ethylene in both cultivars. Abscisic acid and (or) ethylene may be involved in growth inhibition of H. avenae-infected roots but appear to play no direct role in determining tolerance.
abscisic acid; Avena sativa; axenic culture; cereal tryst nematode; ethylene; Heterodera avenae; nematode; oat; plant hormone; root elongation; root explant; tolerance
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of foliar endophytic fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on plant community structure in experimental microcosms containing an assemblage of five species of plants (Oenothera odorata, Plantago asiatica, Trifolium repens, Isodon japonicas and Aster yomena). Leaves of Sasa borealis, Potentilla fragarioides, and Viola mandshurica were collected in Chungbuk, Korea. Endophytic fungi were isolated from the surface sterilized leaves and identified to species level using molecular and morphological techniques. Four isolates of the endophytic fungi were inoculated to the leaves of host plants in the microcosms. Also, three species of AMF spores were extracted from pure cultures and the mixture of the three species inoculated to the roots of the plants. After four months of growth in a green house, effects of both symbiotic fungi on plant species diversity, community composition and productivity were examined. The plant species diversity showed significant differences with inoculation of the symbiotic fungi. Results indicate that AMF significantly affect plant productivity and plant community structure.
Community structure; Endophytes; Mycorrhizas; Microcosm
Although the level of diversity of root-associated fungi can be quite high, the effect of plant distribution and soil environment on root-associated fungal communities at fine spatial scales has received little attention. Here, we examine how soil environment and plant distribution affect the occurrence, diversity, and community structure of root-associated fungi at local patch scales within a mature forest. We used terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analysis to detect 63 fungal species representing 28 different genera colonizing tree root tips. At least 32 species matched previously identified mycorrhizal fungi, with the remaining fungi including both saprotrophic and parasitic species. Root fungal communities were significantly different between June and September, suggesting a rapid temporal change in root fungal communities. Plant distribution affected root fungal communities, with some root fungi positively correlated with tree diameter and herbaceous-plant coverage. Some aspects of the soil environment were correlated with root fungal community structure, with the abundance of some root fungi positively correlated with soil pH and moisture content in June and with soil phosphorous (P) in September. Fungal distribution and community structure may be governed by plant-soil interactions at fine spatial scales within a mature forest. Soil P may play a role in structuring root fungal communities at certain times of the year.
Fungal colonization was determined for females and cysts of Heterodera glycines on soybean roots or in rhizosphere soil from a Florida soybean field. A total of 1,620 females and cysts were examined in 1991, and 1,303 were examined in 1992. More than 35 species of fungi were isolated from females and cysts. The frequency of fungi colonizing white and yellow females was low, but a high frequency of fungi was encountered in brown cysts, which increased with time of exposure of the cysts to the soil. No single fungal species predominated in the nematode females or cysts in this field. Rarely was a female or cyst colonized by more than one fungus. The common fungi isolated from the females and cysts were Neocosmospora vasinfecta, Fusarium solani, Fusarium oxysporum, Dictyochaeta coffeae, Dictyochaeta heteroderae, Pyrenochaeta terrestris, Exophiala pisciphila, Gliocladium catenulatum, Stagonospora heteroderae, and a black yeast-like fungus. The communities of common fungal species isolated from cysts in several regions in the southeastern United States appear to be similar.
biological control; cyst; egg; female; fungi; Glycine max; Heterodera glycines; mycoflora; nematode; similarity index
This study aimed to evaluate the impact of genetically modified (GM) wheat with introduced pm3b mildew resistance transgene, on two types of root-colonizing microorganisms, namely pseudomonads and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Our investigations were carried out in field trials over three field seasons and at two locations. Serial dilution in selective King's B medium and microscopy were used to assess the abundance of cultivable pseudomonads and AMF, respectively. We developed a denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) method to characterize the diversity of the pqqC gene, which is involved in Pseudomonas phosphate solubilization. A major result was that in the first field season Pseudomonas abundances and diversity on roots of GM pm3b lines, but also on non-GM sister lines were different from those of the parental lines and conventional wheat cultivars. This indicates a strong effect of the procedures by which these plants were created, as GM and sister lines were generated via tissue cultures and propagated in the greenhouse. Moreover, Pseudomonas population sizes and DGGE profiles varied considerably between individual GM lines with different genomic locations of the pm3b transgene. At individual time points, differences in Pseudomonas and AMF accumulation between GM and control lines were detected, but they were not consistent and much less pronounced than differences detected between young and old plants, different conventional wheat cultivars or at different locations and field seasons. Thus, we conclude that impacts of GM wheat on plant-beneficial root-colonizing microorganisms are minor and not of ecological importance. The cultivation-independent pqqC-DGGE approach proved to be a useful tool for monitoring the dynamics of Pseudomonas populations in a wheat field and even sensitive enough for detecting population responses to altered plant physiology.
In natural forests, hundreds of fungal species colonize plant roots. The preference or specificity for partners in these symbiotic relationships is a key to understanding how the community structures of root-associated fungi and their host plants influence each other. In an oak-dominated forest in Japan, we investigated the root-associated fungal community based on a pyrosequencing analysis of the roots of 33 plant species. Of the 387 fungal taxa observed, 153 (39.5%) were identified on at least two plant species. Although many mycorrhizal and root-endophytic fungi are shared between the plant species, the five most common plant species in the community had specificity in their association with fungal taxa. Likewise, fungi displayed remarkable variation in their association specificity for plants even within the same phylogenetic or ecological groups. For example, some fungi in the ectomycorrhizal family Russulaceae were detected almost exclusively on specific oak (Quercus) species, whereas other Russulaceae fungi were found even on “non-ectomycorrhizal” plants (e.g., Lyonia and Ilex). Putatively endophytic ascomycetes in the orders Helotiales and Chaetothyriales also displayed variation in their association specificity and many of them were shared among plant species as major symbionts. These results suggest that the entire structure of belowground plant–fungal associations is described neither by the random sharing of hosts/symbionts nor by complete compartmentalization by mycorrhizal type. Rather, the colonization of multiple types of mycorrhizal fungi on the same plant species and the prevalence of diverse root-endophytic fungi may be important features of belowground linkage between plant and fungal communities.
Common mycorrhizal network; endophytes; metagenomics; mycorrhizae; network theory; plant communities
In soil, fungal colonization of plant roots has been traditionally studied by indirect methods such as microbial isolation that do not enable direct observation of infection sites or of interactions between fungal pathogens and their antagonists. Confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to visualize the colonization of tomato roots in heat-treated soil and to observe the interactions between a nonpathogenic strain, Fo47, and a pathogenic strain, Fol8, inoculated onto tomato roots in soil. When inoculated separately, both fungi colonized the entire root surface, with the exception of the apical zone. When both strains were introduced together, they both colonized the root surface and were observed at the same locations. When Fo47 was introduced at a higher concentration than Fol8, it colonized much of the root surface, but hyphae of Fol8 could still be observed at the same location on the root. There was no exclusion of the pathogenic strain by the presence of the nonpathogenic strain. These results are not consistent with the hypothesis that specific infection sites exist on the root for Fusarium oxysporum and instead support the hypothesis that competition occurs for nutrients rather than for infection sites.
Proline accumulation was often correlated with drought tolerance of plants infected by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), whereas lower proline in some AM plants including citrus was also found under drought stress and the relevant mechanisms have not been fully elaborated. In this study proline accumulation and activity of key enzymes relative to proline biosynthesis (▵1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase, P5CS; ornithine-δ-aminotransferase, OAT) and degradation (proline dehydrogenase, ProDH) were determined in trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata, a widely used citrus rootstock) inoculated with or without Funneliformis mosseae and under well-watered (WW) or water deficit (WD). AMF colonization significantly increased plant height, stem diameter, leaf number, root volume, biomass production of both leaves and roots and leaf relative water content, irrespectively of water status. Water deficit induced more tissue proline accumulation, in company with an increase of P5CS activity, but a decrease of OAT and ProDH activity, no matter whether under AM or no-AM. Compared with no-AM treatment, AM treatment resulted in lower proline concentration and content in leaf, root, and total plant under both WW and WD. The AMF colonization significantly decreased the activity of both P5CS and OAT in leaf, root, and total plant under WW and WD, except for an insignificant difference of root OAT under WD. The AMF inoculation also generally increased tissue ProDH activity under WW and WD. Plant proline content significantly positively correlated with plant P5CS activity, negatively with plant ProDH activity, but not with plant OAT activity. These results suggest that AM plants may suffer less from WD, thereby inducing lower proline accumulation, which derives from the integration of an inhibition of proline synthesis with an enhancement of proline degradation.
This study was conducted to characterize and explore the endophytic fungi of selected plants from the Western Himalayas for their bioactive potential. A total of 72 strains of endophytic fungi were isolated and characterized morphologically as well as on the basis of ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 ribosomal gene sequence acquisition and analyses. The fungi represented 27 genera of which two belonged to Basidiomycota, each representing a single isolate, while the rest of the isolates comprised of Ascomycetous fungi. Among the isolated strains, ten isolates could not be assigned to a genus as they displayed a maximum sequence similarity of 95% or less with taxonomically characterized organisms. Among the host plants, the conifers, Cedrus deodara, Pinus roxburgii and Abies pindrow harbored the most diverse fungi, belonging to 13 different genera, which represented almost half of the total genera isolated. Several extracts prepared from the fermented broth of these fungi demonstrated strong bioactivity against E. coli and S. aureus with the lowest IC50 of 18 μg/ml obtained with the extract of Trichophaea abundans inhabiting Pinus sp. In comparison, extracts from only three endophytes were significantly inhibitory to Candida albicans, an important fungal pathogen. Further, 24 endophytes inhibited three or more phytopathogens by at least 50% in co-culture, among a panel of seven test organisms. Extracts from 17 fungi possessed immuno-modulatory activities with five of them showing significant immune suppression as demonstrated by the in vitro lymphocyte proliferation assay. This study is an important step towards tapping the endophytic fungal diversity from the Western Himalayas and assessing their bioactive potential. Further studies on the selected endophytes may lead to the isolation of novel natural products for use in medicine, industry and agriculture.
Endophytes; Western Himalayas; Fungal diversity; Conifers; Antimicrobial activity; Immuno-modulation; ITS
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form symbiotic associations with most plant species in terrestrial ecosystems, and are affected by environmental variations. To reveal the impact of disturbance on an AM fungal community under future global warming, we examined the abundance and community composition of AM fungi in both soil and mixed roots in an alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Warming and grazing had no significant effect on AM root colonization, spore density and extraradical hyphal density. A total of 65 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of AM fungi were identified from soil and roots using molecular techniques. AM fungal OTU richness was higher in soil (54 OTUs) than in roots (34 OTUs), and some AM fungi that differed between soil and roots, showed significantly biased occurrence to warming or grazing. Warming and grazing did not significantly affect AM fungal OTU richness in soil, but warming with grazing significantly increased AM fungal OTU richness in roots compared to the grazing-only treatment. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis showed that the AM fungal community composition was significantly different between soil and roots, and was significantly affected by grazing in roots, whereas in soil it was significantly affected by warming and plant species richness. The results suggest that the AM fungal community responds differently to warming and grazing in soil compared with roots. This study provides insights into the role of AM fungi under global environmental change scenarios in alpine meadows of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
Elucidation of fungal biomass degradation is important for understanding the turnover of biological materials in nature and has important implications for industrial biomass conversion. In recent years there has been an increasing interest in elucidating the biological role of thermophilic fungi and in characterization of their industrially useful enzymes. In the present study we investigated the cellulolytic potential of 16 thermophilic fungi from the three ascomycete orders Sordariales, Eurotiales and Onygenales and from the zygomycete order Mucorales thus covering all fungal orders that include thermophiles. Thermophilic fungi are the only described eukaryotes that can grow at temperatures above 45°C. All 16 fungi were able to grow on crystalline cellulose but their secreted enzymes showed widely different cellulolytic activities, pH optima and thermostabilities. Interestingly, in contrast to previous reports, we found that some fungi such as Melanocarpus albomyces readily grew on crystalline cellulose and produced cellulases. These results indicate that there are large differences in the cellulolytic potential of different isolates of the same species. Furthermore, all the selected species were able to degrade cellulose but the differences in cellulolytic potential and thermostability of the secretome did not correlate to the taxonomic position. PCR amplification and sequencing of 22 cellulase genes from the fungi showed that the level of thermostability of the cellulose-degrading activity could not be inferred from the phylogenetic relationship of the cellulases.
Thermophilic fungi; Endoglucanase; Cellobiohydrolase; Cellulolytic potential
Microorganisms associated with the stems and roots of nonnodulated (Nod−), wild-type nodulated (Nod+), and hypernodulated (Nod++) soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merril] were analyzed by ribosomal intergenic transcribed spacer analysis (RISA) and automated RISA (ARISA). RISA of stem samples detected no bands specific to the nodulation phenotype, whereas RISA of root samples revealed differential bands for the nodulation phenotypes. Pseudomonas fluorescens was exclusively associated with Nod+ soybean roots. Fusarium solani was stably associated with nodulated (Nod+ and Nod++) roots and less abundant in Nod− soybeans, whereas the abundance of basidiomycetes was just the opposite. The phylogenetic analyses suggested that these basidiomycetous fungi might represent a root-associated group in the Auriculariales. Principal-component analysis of the ARISA results showed that there was no clear relationship between nodulation phenotype and bacterial community structure in the stem. In contrast, both the bacterial and fungal community structures in the roots were related to nodulation phenotype. The principal-component analysis further suggested that bacterial community structure in roots could be classified into three groups according to the nodulation phenotype (Nod−, Nod+, or Nod++). The analysis of root samples indicated that the microbial community in Nod− soybeans was more similar to that in Nod++ soybeans than to that in Nod+ soybeans.
Fungus-growing termites efficiently decompose plant litter through their symbiotic relationship with basidiomycete fungi of the genus Termitomyces. Here, we investigated phenol-oxidizing enzymes in symbiotic fungi and fungus combs (a substrate used to cultivate symbiotic fungi) from termites belonging to the genera Macrotermes, Odontotermes, and Microtermes in Thailand, because these enzymes are potentially involved in the degradation of phenolic compounds during fungus comb aging. Laccase activity was detected in all the fungus combs examined as well as in the culture supernatants of isolated symbiotic fungi. Conversely, no peroxidase activity was detected in any of the fungus combs or the symbiotic fungal cultures. The laccase cDNA fragments were amplified directly from RNA extracted from fungus combs of five termite species and a fungal isolate using degenerate primers targeting conserved copper binding domains of basidiomycete laccases, resulting in a total of 13 putative laccase cDNA sequences being identified. The full-length sequences of the laccase cDNA and the corresponding gene, lcc1-2, were identified from the fungus comb of Macrotermes gilvus and a Termitomyces strain isolated from the same fungus comb, respectively. Partial purification of laccase from the fungus comb showed that the lcc1-2 gene product was a dominant laccase in the fungus comb. These findings indicate that the symbiotic fungus secretes laccase to the fungus comb. In addition to laccase, we report novel genes that showed a significant similarity with fungal laccases, but the gene product lacked laccase activity. Interestingly, these genes were highly expressed in symbiotic fungi of all the termite hosts examined.
Gene silencing vectors based on Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV) are used extensively in cereals to study gene function, but nearly all studies have been limited to genes expressed in leaves of barley and wheat. However since many important aspects of plant biology are based on root-expressed genes we wanted to explore the potential of BSMV for silencing genes in root tissues. Furthermore, the newly completed genome sequence of the emerging cereal model species Brachypodium distachyon as well as the increasing amount of EST sequence information available for oat (Avena species) have created a need for tools to study gene function in these species.
Here we demonstrate the successful BSMV-mediated virus induced gene silencing (VIGS) of three different genes in barley roots, i.e. the barley homologues of the IPS1, PHR1, and PHO2 genes known to participate in Pi uptake and reallocation in Arabidopsis. Attempts to silence two other genes, the Pi transporter gene HvPht1;1 and the endo-β-1,4-glucanase gene HvCel1, in barley roots were unsuccessful, probably due to instability of the plant gene inserts in the viral vector. In B. distachyon leaves, significant silencing of the PHYTOENE DESATURASE (BdPDS) gene was obtained as shown by photobleaching as well as quantitative RT-PCR analysis. On the other hand, only very limited silencing of the oat AsPDS gene was observed in both hexaploid (A. sativa) and diploid (A. strigosa) oat. Finally, two modifications of the BSMV vector are presented, allowing ligation-free cloning of DNA fragments into the BSMV-γ component.
Our results show that BSMV can be used as a vector for gene silencing in barley roots and in B. distachyon leaves and possibly roots, opening up possibilities for using VIGS to study cereal root biology and to exploit the wealth of genome information in the new cereal model plant B. distachyon. On the other hand, the silencing induced by BSMV in oat seemed too weak to be of practical use. The new BSMV vectors modified for ligation-free cloning will allow rapid insertion of plant gene fragments for future experiments.