Spatial patterns of gene expression in the extramatrical mycelium and mycorrhizal root tips formed by the ectomycorrhizal fungus Paxillus involutus in association with birch (Betula pendula) seedlings in soil microcosms


Author for correspondence: Anders Tunlid Tel: +46 46 2223757 Fax: +46 46 2224158 Email:


  • • Functional compartmentation of the extramatrical mycelium of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi is considered important for the operation of ECM associations, although the molecular basis is poorly characterized.
  • • Global gene expression profiles of mycelium colonizing an ammonium sulphate ((NH4)2SO4) nutrient patch, rhizomorphs and ECM root tips of the Betula pendulaPaxillus involutus association were compared by cDNA microarray analysis.
  • • The expression profiles of rhizomorphs and nutrient patch mycelium were similar to each other but distinctly different from that of mycorrhizal tips. Statistical analyses revealed 337 of 1075 fungal genes differentially regulated among these three tissues. Clusters of genes exhibiting distinct expression patterns within specific tissues were identified. Genes implicated in the glutamine synthetase/glutamate synthase (GS/GOGAT) and urea cycles, and the provision of carbon skeletons for ammonium assimilation via β-oxidation and the glyoxylate cycle, were highly expressed in rhizomorph and nutrient patch mycelium. Genes implicated in vesicular transport, cytoskeleton organization and morphogenesis and protein degradation were also differentially expressed.
  • • Differential expression of genes among the extramatrical mycelium and mycorrhizal tips indicates functional specialization of tissues forming ECM associations.