Endobacteria affect the metabolic profile of their host Gigaspora margarita, an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus


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The aim of this paper was to understand whether the endobacterium identified as Candidatus Glomeribacter gigasporarum has an effect on the biology of its host, the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Gigaspora margarita, through the study of the modifications induced on the fungal proteome and lipid profile. The availability of G. margarita cured spores (i.e. spores that do not contain bacteria), represented a crucial tool to enable the comparison between two fungal homogeneous populations in the presence and the absence of the bacterial components. Our results demonstrate that the endobacterial presence leads to a modulation of fungal protein expression in all the different conditions we tested (quiescent, germinating and strigolactone-elicited germinating spores), and in particular after treatment with a strigolactone analogue. The fungal fatty acid profile resulted to be modified both quantitatively and qualitatively in the absence of endobacteria, being fatty acids less abundant in the cured spores. The results offer one of the first comparative metabolic studies of an AM fungus investigated under different physiological conditions, reveal that endobacteria have an important impact on the host fungal activity, influencing both protein expression and lipid profile, and suggest that the bacterial absence is perceived by G. margarita as a stimulus which activates stress-responsive proteins.