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Genetic exchange in an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus results in increased rice growth and altered mycorrhiza-specific gene transcription.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligate symbionts with most terrestrial plants. They improve plant nutrition, particularly phosphate acquisition, and thus are able to improve plant growth. In exchange, the fungi obtain photosynthetically fixed carbon. AMF are coenocytic, meaning that many nuclei coexist in a common cytoplasm. Genetic exchange recently has been demonstrated in the AMF Glomus intraradices, allowing nuclei of different Glomus intraradices strains to mix. Such genetic exchange was shown previously to have negative effects on plant growth and to alter fungal colonization. However, no attempt was made to detect whether genetic exchange in AMF can alter plant gene expression and if this effect was time dependent. Here, we show that genetic exchange in AMF also can be beneficial for rice growth, and that symbiosis-specific gene transcription is altered by genetic exchange. Moreover, our results show that genetic exchange can change the dynamics of the colonization of the fungus in the plant. Our results demonstrate that the simple manipulation of the genetics of AMF can have important consequences for their symbiotic effects on plants such as rice, which is considered the most important crop in the world. Exploiting natural AMF genetic variation by generating novel AMF genotypes through genetic exchange is a potentially useful tool in the development of AMF inocula that are more beneficial for crop growth.
Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal, Genes, Fungal, Mycorrhizae/genetics, Mycorrhizae/physiology, Oryza sativa/growth & development, Oryza sativa/microbiology, Recombination, Genetic, Symbiosis, Transcription, Genetic
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