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Keywords:

  • auxin-regulated gene;
  • GH3;
  • Hebeloma cylindrosporum;
  • mycorrhiza;
  • Pinus pinaster

Summary

  • • 
    In an attempt to determine whether auxin-regulated plant genes play a role in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis establishment, we screened a Pinus pinaster root cDNA library for auxin-upregulated genes. This allowed the identification of a cDNA, Pp-GH3.16, which encodes a polypeptide sharing extensive homologies with GH3 proteins of different plants.
  • • 
    Pp-GH3.16 was specifically upregulated by auxins and was not affected by cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid or ethylene, or by heat shock, water stress or anoxia.
  • • 
    Pp-GH3.16 mRNAs were quantified in pine roots inoculated with two ectomycorrhizal fungi, Hebeloma cylindrosporum and Rhizopogon roseolus. Surprisingly, Pp-GH3.16 was downregulated following inoculation with both fungal species. The downregulation was most rapid on establishment of symbiosis with an indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)-overproducing mutant of H. cylindrosporum, which overproduced mycorrhizas characterized by a hypertrophic Hartig net. This indicates that, despite being auxin-inducible, Pp-GH3.16 can be downregulated on establishment of symbiosis with a fungus that releases auxin.
  • • 
    By contrast, Pp-GH3.16 was not downregulated in pine root systems inoculated with a nonmycorrhizal mutant of H. cylindrosporum, suggesting that the downregulation we observed in mycorrhizal root systems was a component of the molecular cross-talk between symbiotic partners at the origin of differentiation of symbiotic structures.