Survival of an introduced ectomycorrhizal Laccaria bicolor strain in a European forest plantation monitored by mitochondrial ribosomal DNA analysis



Mitochondrial and nuclear genes have different inheritance, thus studies of fungal populations should use both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Using nuclear markers, the S238N strain of the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Laccaria bicolor ((Maire) Orton) has been previously shown to persist for at least 10 yr after outplanting in a plantation of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mir.) Franco) inoculated with this strain. In the present study, we have sampled 539 sporophores of Laccaria spp. from this plantation, some of which had the S238N nuclear genotype, to study mitochondrial DNA polymorphism and persistence of the inoculated S238N mitochondrial genome. Length polymorphism in fragments of the large subunit of mitochondrial ribosomal DNA (LrDNA) allowed distinction of the haplotypes present in the plantation at the species level. In addition, heteroduplex analysis and sequencing revealed intraspecific polymorphism of LrDNA among the L. bicolor sporophores and enabled specific identification of S238N LrDNA. This haplotype was only retained in sporophores carrying the S238N nuclear genome, confirming the survival of this introduced strain in a natural population.