Ecologically Different Fungi Affect Arabidopsis Development:  Contribution of Soluble and Volatile Compounds Public

Salvatore Casarrubia,Sara Sapienza,Héma Fritz,Stefanie Daghino,Maaria Rosenkranz,Jörg-Peter Schnitzler,Francis Martin,Silvia Perotto,Elena Martino 2016 December 14 PLoS ONE 11(12): e1068236


Plant growth and development can be influenced by mutualistic and non-mutualistic micro-organisms.  We investigated the ability of the ericoid endomycorrhizal fungus Oidiodendron maius to influence growth and development of the non-host plant Arabidopsis thaliana.  Different experimental setups (non-compartmented and compartmented co-culture plates) were used to investigate the influence of both soluble and volatile fungal molecules on the plant phenotype.  O. maius promoted growth of A. thaliana in all experimental setups.  In addition, a peculiar clumped root phenotype, characterized by shortening of the primary root and by an increase of lateral root length and number, was observed in A. thaliana only in the non-compartmented plates, suggesting that soluble diffusible molecules are responsible for this root morphology.  Fungal auxin does not seem to be involved in plant growth promotion and in the clumped root phenotype because co-cultivation with O. maius did not change auxin accumulation in plant tissues, as assessed in plants carrying the DR5::GUS reporter construct.  In addition, no correlation between the amount of fungal auxin produced and the plant root phenotype was observed in an O. maius mutant unable to induce the clumped root phenotype in A. thaliana.  Addition of active charcoal, a VOC absorbant, in the compartmented plates did not modify plant growth promotion, suggesting that VOCs are not involved in this phenomenon. The low VOCs emission measured for O. maius further corroborated this hypothesis.  By contrast, the addition of CO2 traps in the compartmented plates drastically reduced plant growth, suggesting involvement of fungal CO2 in plant growth promotion.  Other mycorrhizal fungi, as well as a saprotrophic and a pathogenic fungus, were also tested with the same experimental setups.  In the non-compartmented plates, most fungi promoted A. thaliana growth and some could induce the clumped root phenotype.  In the compartmented plate experiments, a general induction of plant growth was observed for most other fungi, especially those producing higher biomass, further strengthening the role of a nonspecific mechanism, such as CO2 emission.


Casarrubia S, Sapienza S, Fritz H, Daghino S, Rosenkran M, Schnitzler J-P, et al. (2016)  Ecologically Different Fungi Affect Arabidopsis Development: Contribution of Soluble and Volatile Compounds. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0168236.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168236