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1.  The genome of the obligate endobacterium of an AM fungus reveals an interphylum network of nutritional interactions 
The ISME Journal  2011;6(1):136-145.
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.
PMCID: PMC3246228  PMID: 21866182
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; bacterial genome; differential gene expression; endobacterium; metabolic profiling; symbiosis
2.  A dehydration-inducible gene in the truffle Tuber borchii identifies a novel group of dehydrins 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:39.
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.
PMCID: PMC1550403  PMID: 16512918
3.  Experimental system to displace radioisotopes from upper to deeper soil layers: chemical research 
Radioisotopes are introduced into the environment following nuclear power plant accidents or nuclear weapons tests. The immobility of these radioactive elements in uppermost soil layers represents a problem for human health, since they can easily be incorporated in the food chain. Preventing their assimilation by plants may be a first step towards the total recovery of contaminated areas.
The possibility of displacing radionuclides from the most superficial soil layers and their subsequent stabilisation at lower levels were investigated in laboratory trials. An experimental system reproducing the environmental conditions of contaminated areas was designed in plastic columns. A radiopolluted soil sample was treated with solutions containing ions normally used in fertilisation (NO3-, NH4+, PO4--- and K+).
Contaminated soils treated with an acid solution of ions NO3-, PO4--- and K+, undergo a reduction of radioactivity up to 35%, after a series of washes which simulate one year's rainfall. The capacity of the deepest soil layers to immobilize the radionuclides percolated from the superficial layers was also confirmed.
The migration of radionuclides towards deeper soil layers, following chemical treatments, and their subsequent stabilization reduces bioavailability in the uppermost soil horizon, preventing at the same time their transfer into the water-bearing stratum.
PMCID: PMC421741  PMID: 15132749

Results 1-3 (3)