The arbuscular mycorrhizal-induced LjMAMI gene is phylogenetically related to GARP transcription factors involved in Pi-starvation responses such as AtPHR1. The gene is strongly upregulated in arbusculated cells from mycorrhizal plants and in root meristems, irrespectively of the fungal presence. A further expression analysis revealed a similar expression pattern for LjPT4, considered a marker gene for mycorrhizal functionality. Here we show that the LjPT4 promoter contains two conserved cis-acting elements typically found in Pi-starvation induced Pi transporters. One of these is strongly related to the binding site of AtPHR1, suggesting a direct regulation of LjPT4 by LjMAMI. The expression of both genes in non-mycorrhizal tissues leads to the hypothesis that these symbiosis-inducible genes are also involved in Pi starvation responses in root meristems in an AM-independent manner.
putative-transcription factor; phosphate transporter; root architecture; symbiosis
The development of Tuber melanosporum mycorrhizal symbiosis is associated with the production of an area devoid of vegetation (commonly referred to by the French word ‘brûlé’) around the symbiotic plants and where the fruiting bodies of T. melanosporum are usually collected. The extent of the ecological impact of such an area is still being discovered. While the relationship between T. melanosporum and the other fungi present in the brûlé has been assessed, no data are available on the relationship between this fungus and the bacteria inhabiting the brûlé.
We used DGGE and DNA microarrays of 16S rRNA gene fragments to compare the bacterial and archaeal communities inside and outside of truffle brûlés. Soil samples were collected in 2008 from four productive T. melanosporum/Quercus pubescens truffle-grounds located in Cahors, France, showing characteristic truffle brûlé. All the samples were analyzed by DGGE and one truffle-ground was analyzed also using phylogenetic microarrays. DGGE profiles showed differences in the bacterial community composition, and the microarrays revealed a few differences in relative richness between the brûlé interior and exterior zones, as well as differences in the relative abundance of several taxa.
The different signal intensities we have measured for members of bacteria and archaea inside versus outside the brûlé are the first demonstration, to our knowledge, that not only fungal communities, but also other microorganisms are affected by T. melanosporum. Firmicutes (e.g., Bacillus), several genera of Actinobacteria, and a few Cyanobacteria had greater representation inside the brûlé compared with outside, whereas Pseudomonas and several genera within the class Flavobacteriaceae had higher relative abundances outside the brûlé. The findings from this study may contribute to future searches for microbial bio-indicators of brûlés.
As obligate symbionts of most land plants, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have a crucial role in ecosystems, but to date, in the absence of genomic data, their adaptive biology remains elusive. In addition, endobacteria are found in their cytoplasm, the role of which is unknown. In order to investigate the function of the Gram-negative Candidatus Glomeribacter gigasporarum, an endobacterium of the AMF Gigaspora margarita, we sequenced its genome, leading to an ∼1.72-Mb assembly. Phylogenetic analyses placed Ca. G. gigasporarum in the Burkholderiaceae whereas metabolic network analyses clustered it with insect endobacteria. This positioning of Ca. G. gigasporarum among different bacterial classes reveals that it has undergone convergent evolution to adapt itself to intracellular lifestyle. The genome annotation of this mycorrhizal-fungal endobacterium has revealed an unexpected genetic mosaic where typical determinants of symbiotic, pathogenic and free-living bacteria are integrated in a reduced genome. Ca. G. gigasporarum is an aerobic microbe that depends on its host for carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen supply; it also expresses type II and type III secretion systems and synthesizes vitamin B12, antibiotics- and toxin-resistance molecules, which may contribute to the fungal host's ecological fitness. Ca. G. gigasporarum has an extreme dependence on its host for nutrients and energy, whereas the fungal host is itself an obligate biotroph that relies on a photosynthetic plant. Our work represents the first step towards unraveling a complex network of interphylum interactions, which is expected to have a previously unrecognized ecological impact.
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; bacterial genome; differential gene expression; endobacterium; metabolic profiling; symbiosis
Arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) are widespread symbioses that provide great advantages to the plant, improving its nutritional status and allowing the fungus to complete its life cycle. Nevertheless, molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of AM symbiosis are not yet fully deciphered. Here, we have focused on two putative aquaporin genes, LjNIP1 and LjXIP1, which resulted to be upregulated in a transcriptomic analysis performed on mycorrhizal roots of Lotus japonicus.
A phylogenetic analysis has shown that the two putative aquaporins belong to different functional families: NIPs and XIPs. Transcriptomic experiments have shown the independence of their expression from their nutritional status but also a close correlation with mycorrhizal and rhizobial interaction. Further transcript quantification has revealed a good correlation between the expression of one of them, LjNIP1, and LjPT4, the phosphate transporter which is considered a marker gene for mycorrhizal functionality. By using laser microdissection, we have demonstrated that one of the two genes, LjNIP1, is expressed exclusively in arbuscule-containing cells. LjNIP1, in agreement with its putative role as an aquaporin, is capable of transferring water when expressed in yeast protoplasts. Confocal analysis have demonstrated that eGFP-LjNIP1, under its endogenous promoter, accumulates in the inner membrane system of arbusculated cells.
Overall, the results have shown different functionality and expression specificity of two mycorrhiza-inducible aquaporins in L. japonicus. One of them, LjNIP1 can be considered a novel molecular marker of mycorrhizal status at different developmental stages of the arbuscule. At the same time, LjXIP1 results to be the first XIP family aquaporin to be transcriptionally regulated during symbiosis.
Arbusculated cells; Legumes; Aquaporin; Symbiosis; XIP; NIP; Mycorrhizal fungi; Lotus japonicus
Strigolactones (SLs) are recently identified plant hormones modulating root and shoot branching. Besides their endogenous role within the producing organism, SLs are also key molecules in the communication of plants with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and parasitic weeds. In fact SLs are exuded into the rhizosphere where they act as a host-derived signal, stimulating the germination of the seeds of parasitic plants which would not survive in the absence of a host root to colonize. Similarly, their perception by AM fungi causes extensive hyphal branching; this is a prerequisite for effective root colonization, since it increases the number of potential contact points with the host surface. In spite of the crucial and multifaceted biological role of SLs, there is no information on the receptor(s) which bind(s) such active molecules, neither in the producing plants, or in parasitic weeds or AM fungi.
In this work, we applied homology modelling techniques to investigate the structure of the protein encoded by the gene Dwarf14, which was first identified in rice as conferring SLs insensitivity when mutated. The best sequence identity was with bacterial RsbQ. Both proteins belong to the superfamily of alpha/beta-fold hydrolases, some members of which play a role in the metabolism or signalling of plant hormones. The Dwarf14 (D14) structure was refined by means of molecular dynamics simulations. In order to support the hypothesis that D14 could be an endogenous SLs receptor, we performed docking experiments with a natural ligand.
It is suggested that D14 interacts with and thereby may act as a receptor for SLs in plants. This hypothesis offers a starting point to experimentally study the mechanism of its activity in vivo by means of structural, molecular and genetic approaches. Lastly, knowledge of the putative receptor structure will boost the research on analogues of the natural substrates as required for agricultural applications.
Fungi strongly influence ecosystem structure and functioning, playing a key role in many ecological services as decomposers, plant mutualists and pathogens. The Mediterranean area is a biodiversity hotspot that is increasingly threatened by intense land use. Therefore, to achieve a balance between conservation and human development, a better understanding of the impact of land use on the underlying fungal communities is needed.
We used parallel pyrosequencing of the nuclear ribosomal ITS regions to characterize the fungal communities in five soils subjected to different anthropogenic impact in a typical Mediterranean landscape: a natural cork-oak forest, a pasture, a managed meadow, and two vineyards. Marked differences in the distribution of taxon assemblages among the different sites and communities were found. Data analyses consistently indicated a sharp distinction of the fungal community of the cork oak forest soil from those described in the other soils. Each soil showed features of the fungal assemblages retrieved which can be easily related to the above-ground settings: ectomycorrhizal phylotypes were numerous in natural sites covered by trees, but were nearly completely missing from the anthropogenic and grass-covered sites; similarly, coprophilous fungi were common in grazed sites.
Data suggest that investigation on the below-ground fungal community may provide useful elements on the above-ground features such as vegetation coverage and agronomic procedures, allowing to assess the cost of anthropogenic land use to hidden diversity in soil. Datasets provided in this study may contribute to future searches for fungal bio-indicators as biodiversity markers of a specific site or a land-use degree.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is the most widespread association between plant roots and fungi in natural and agricultural ecosystems. This work investigated the influence of mycorrhization on the economically relevant part of the tomato plant, by analyzing its impact on the physiology of the fruit. To this aim, a combination of phenological observations, transcriptomics (Microarrays and qRT-PCR) and biochemical analyses was used to unravel the changes that occur on fruits from Micro-Tom tomato plants colonized by the AM fungus Glomus mosseae.
Mycorrhization accelerated the flowering and fruit development and increased the fruit yield. Eleven transcripts were differentially regulated in the fruit upon mycorrhization, and the mycorrhiza-responsive genes resulted to be involved in nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism as well as in regulation and signal transduction. Mycorrhization has increased the amino acid abundance in the fruit from mycorrhizal plants, with glutamine and asparagine being the most responsive amino acids.
The obtained results offer novel data on the systemic changes that are induced by the establishment of AM symbiosis in the plant, and confirm the work hypothesis that AM fungi may extend their influence from the root to the fruit.
The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis consists of a mutualistic relationship between soil fungi and roots of most plant species. This association provides the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus with sugars while the fungus improves the uptake of water and mineral nutrients in the host plant. Then, the establishment of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis requires the fine tuning of host gene expression for recognition and accommodation of the fungal symbiont. In plants, calcium plays a key role as second messenger during developmental processes and responses to environmental stimuli. Even though calcium transients are known to occur in host cells during the AM symbiosis, the decoding of the calcium signal and the molecular events downstream are only poorly understood.
The expression of seventeen Calcium-dependent Protein Kinase (CPK) genes representative of the four distinct phylogenetic groups of rice CPKs was monitored during the presymbiotic phase of the AM symbiosis. Among them, OsCPK18 and OsCPK4, were found to be transcriptionally activated in response to inoculation with the AM fungus Glomus intraradices. OsCPK18 and OsCPK4 gene expression was also up-regulated by fungal-produced diffusible molecules. Laser microdissection revealed expression of OsCPK18 in cortical cells, and not in epidermal cells of G. intraradices-inoculated rice roots, suggesting a preferential role of this gene in the root cortex. Moreover, a plasma membrane localization of OsCPK18 was observed by transient expression assays of green fluorescent protein-tagged OsCPK18 in onion epidermal cells. We also show that the myristoylation site of the OsCPK18 N-terminus is required for plasma membrane targeting.
The rapid activation of OsCPK18 expression in response to AM inoculation, its expression being also induced by fungal-secreted signals, together with the observed plasma membrane localization of OsCPK18, points to a role for OsCPK18 in perception of the AM fungus. The OsCPK18 gene might be considered as a marker for the presymbiotic phase of the symbiotic process. These findings provide a better understanding of the signaling mechanisms operating during the AM symbiosis and will greatly facilitate their molecular dissection.
Background and Aims
Epipogium aphyllum is a Eurasian achlorophyllous, mycoheterotrophic forest orchid. Due to its rarity, it is often protected, and its biology is poorly known. The identity and pattern of colonization of fungal associates providing carbon to this orchid have not been studied previously.
Using samples from 34 individuals from 18 populations in Japan, Russia and France, the following were investigated: (a) colonization patterns of fungal associates of E. aphyllum by microscopy; (b) their identity by PCR amplification of nuclear ribosomal ITS carried out on rhizome fragments and hyphal pelotons.
Results and Conclusions
Microscopic investigations revealed that thick rhizomes were densely colonized by fungi bearing clamp-connections and dolipores, i.e. basidiomycetes. Molecular analysis identified Inocybe species as exclusive symbionts of 75 % of the plants investigated and, more rarely, other basidiomycetes (Hebeloma, Xerocomus, Lactarius, Thelephora species). Additionally, ascomycetes, probably endophytes or parasites, were sometimes present. Although E. aphyllum associates with diverse species from Inocybe subgenera Mallocybe and Inocybe sensu stricto, no evidence for cryptic speciation in E. aphyllum was found. Since basidiomycetes colonizing the orchid are ectomycorrhizal, surrounding trees are probably the ultimate carbon source. Accordingly, in one population, ectomycorrhizae sampled around an individual orchid revealed the same fungus on 11·2 % of tree roots investigated. Conversely, long, thin stolons bearing bulbils indicated active asexual multiplication, but these propagules were not colonized by fungi. These findings are discussed in the framework of ecology and evolution of mycoheterotrophy.
Asexual multiplication; ectomycorrhizae; Epipogium; Inocybe; mycoheterotrophy; orchid mycorrhizae; specificity; symbiont transmission
The main objective of this study was to shed light on the previously unknown arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities in Southern Arabia. We explored AMF communities in two date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) plantations and the natural vegetation of their surrounding arid habitats. The plantations were managed traditionally in an oasis and according to conventional guidelines at an experimental station. Based on spore morphotyping, the AMF communities under the date palms appeared to be quite diverse at both plantations and more similar to each other than to the communities under the ruderal plant, Polygala erioptera, growing at the experimental station on the dry strip between the palm trees, and to the communities uncovered under the native vegetation (Zygophyllum hamiense, Salvadora persica, Prosopis cineraria, inter-plant area) of adjacent undisturbed arid habitat. AMF spore abundance and species richness were higher under date palms than under the ruderal and native plants. Sampling in a remote sand dune area under Heliotropium kotschyi yielded only two AMF morphospecies and only after trap culturing. Overall, 25 AMF morphospecies were detected encompassing all study habitats. Eighteen belonged to the genus Glomus including four undescribed species. Glomus sinuosum, a species typically found in undisturbed habitats, was the most frequently occurring morphospecies under the date palms. Using molecular tools, it was also found as a phylogenetic taxon associated with date palm roots. These roots were associated with nine phylogenetic taxa, among them eight from Glomus group A, but the majority could not be assigned to known morphospecies or to environmental sequences in public databases. Some phylogenetic taxa seemed to be site specific. Despite the use of group-specific primers and efficient trapping systems with a bait plant consortium, surprisingly, two of the globally most frequently found species, Glomus intraradices and Glomus mosseae, were not detected neither as phylogenetic taxa in the date palm roots nor as spores under the date palms, the intermediate ruderal plant, or the surrounding natural vegetation. The results highlight the uniqueness of AMF communities inhabiting these diverse habitats exposed to the harsh climatic conditions of Southern Arabia.
Date palm; Arbuscular mycorrhiza; Biodiversity; Natural vegetation; Dry land; Desert; Oasis; Southern Arabia
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associations have strikingly constant structural and functional features, irrespectively of the organisms involved. This suggests the existence of common genetic and molecular determinants. one of the most important characteristics of AMs is the coating of intracellular hyphae by a proliferation of the plant plasma membrane, which always segregates the fungus in an apoplastic interface. This process of intracellular accommodation causes a dramatic reorganization in the host cell cytoplasm, which reaches its peak with the development of the so-called prepenetration apparatus (PPA), a specialised aggregation of organelles described in epidermal cells and predicting fungal development within the cell lumen. We have recently correlated PPA development with the significant regulation of 15 Medicago truncatula genes. Among these, a nodulin-like and an expansin-like sequence are good candidates as molecular markers of epidermal cell responses to AM contact. our results also suggest a novel role for the kinase DMI3 in enhancing the upregulation of these two genes and downregulating defence-related genes such as the Avr9/Cf-9 rapidly elicited protein 264. We here comment on these recent findings and their possible outcomes.
arbuscular mycorrhiza; colonization process; prepenetration apparatus; epidermal cells; transcriptome analysis
This work presents DNA sequence motifs from the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of the nuclear rRNA repeat unit which are useful for the identification of five European and Asiatic truffles (Tuber magnatum, T. melanosporum, T. indicum, T. aestivum, and T. mesentericum). Truffles are edible mycorrhizal ascomycetes that show similar morphological characteristics but that have distinct organoleptic and economic values. A total of 36 out of 46 ITS1 or ITS2 sequence motifs have allowed an accurate in silico distinction of the five truffles to be made (i.e., by pattern matching and/or BLAST analysis on downloaded GenBank sequences and directly against GenBank databases). The motifs considered the intraspecific genetic variability of each species, including rare haplotypes, and assigned their respective species from either the ascocarps or ectomycorrhizas. The data indicate that short ITS1 or ITS2 motifs (≤50 bp in size) can be considered promising tools for truffle species identification. A dot blot hybridization analysis of T. magnatum and T. melanosporum compared with other close relatives or distant lineages allowed at least one highly specific motif to be identified for each species. These results were confirmed in a blind test which included new field isolates. The current work has provided a reliable new tool for a truffle oligonucleotide bar code and identification in ecological and evolutionary studies.
The expressed sequence tag M6G10 was originally isolated from a screening for differentially expressed transcripts during the reproductive stage of the white truffle Tuber borchii. mRNA levels for M6G10 increased dramatically during fruiting body maturation compared to the vegetative mycelial stage.
Bioinformatics tools, phylogenetic analysis and expression studies were used to support the hypothesis that this sequence, named TbDHN1, is the first dehydrin (DHN)-like coding gene isolated in fungi. Homologs of this gene, all defined as "coding for hypothetical proteins" in public databases, were exclusively found in ascomycetous fungi and in plants. Although complete (or almost complete) fungal genomes and EST collections of some Basidiomycota and Glomeromycota are already available, DHN-like proteins appear to be represented only in Ascomycota. A new and previously uncharacterized conserved signature pattern was identified and proposed to Uniprot database as the main distinguishing feature of this new group of DHNs. Expression studies provide experimental evidence of a transcript induction of TbDHN1 during cellular dehydration.
Expression pattern and sequence similarities to known plant DHNs indicate that TbDHN1 is the first characterized DHN-like protein in fungi. The high similarity of TbDHN1 with homolog coding sequences implies the existence of a novel fungal/plant group of LEA Class II proteins characterized by a previously undescribed signature pattern.
cDNA arrays were used to explore mechanisms controlling fruiting body development in the truffle Tuber borchii. Differences in gene expression were higher between reproductive and vegetative stage than between two stages of fruiting body maturation. We suggest hypotheses about the importance of various physiological processes during the development of fruiting bodies.
The transition from vegetative mycelium to fruit body in truffles requires differentiation processes which lead to edible fruit bodies (ascomata) consisting of different cell and tissue types. The identification of genes differentially expressed during these developmental processes can contribute greatly to a better understanding of truffle morphogenesis. A cDNA library was constructed from vegetative mycelium RNAs of the white truffle Tuber borchii, and 214 cDNAs were sequenced. Up to 58% of the expressed sequence tags corresponded to known genes. The majority of the identified sequences represented housekeeping proteins, i.e., proteins involved in gene or protein expression, cell wall formation, primary and secondary metabolism, and signaling pathways. We screened 171 arrayed cDNAs by using cDNA probes constructed from mRNAs of vegetative mycelium and ascomata to identify fruit body-regulated genes. Comparisons of signals from vegetative mycelium and fruit bodies bearing 15 or 70% mature spores revealed significant differences in the expression levels for up to 33% of the investigated genes. The expression levels for six highly regulated genes were confirmed by RNA blot analyses. The expression of glutamine synthetase, 5-aminolevulinic acid synthetase, isocitrate lyase, thioredoxin, glucan 1,3-β-glucosidase, and UDP-glucose:sterol glucosyl transferase was highly up-regulated, suggesting that amino acid biosynthesis, the glyoxylate cycle pathway, and cell wall synthesis are strikingly altered during morphogenesis.
In this paper we report the identification and characterization of a DNA region containing putative nif genes and belonging to a Burkholderia endosymbiont of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Gigaspora margarita. A genomic library of total DNA extracted from the fungal spores was also representative of the bacterial genome and was used to investigate the prokaryotic genome. Screening of the library with Azospirillum brasilense nifHDK genes as the prokaryotic probes led to the identification of a 6,413-bp region. Analysis revealed three open reading frames encoding putative proteins with a very high degree of sequence similarity with the two subunits (NifD and NifK) of the component I and with component II (NifH) of nitrogenase from different diazotrophs. The three genes were arranged in an operon similar to that shown by most archaeal and bacterial diazotrophs. PCR experiments with primers designed on the Burkholderia nifHDK genes and Southern blot analysis demonstrate that they actually belong to the genome of the G. margarita endosymbiont. They offer, therefore, the first sequence for the nif operon described for Burkholderia. Reverse transcriptase PCR experiments with primers designed on the Burkholderia nifH and nifD genes and performed on total RNA extracted from spores demonstrate that the gene expression was limited to the germination phase. A phylogenetic analysis performed on the available nifK sequences placed the endosymbiotic Burkholderia close to A. brasilense.
Intracellular bacteria have been found previously in one isolate of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Gigaspora margarita BEG 34. In this study, we extended our investigation to 11 fungal isolates obtained from different geographic areas and belonging to six different species of the family Gigasporaceae. With the exception of Gigaspora rosea, isolates of all of the AM species harbored bacteria, and their DNA could be PCR amplified with universal bacterial primers. Primers specific for the endosymbiotic bacteria of BEG 34 could also amplify spore DNA from four species. These specific primers were successfully used as probes for in situ hybridization of endobacteria in G. margarita spores. Neighbor-joining analysis of the 16S ribosomal DNA sequences obtained from isolates of Scutellospora persica, Scutellospora castanea, and G. margarita revealed a single, strongly supported branch nested in the genus Burkholderia.