The mycorrhiza helper Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6R8 has a specific priming effect on the growth, morphology and gene expression of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor S238N
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- • The mycorrhiza helper Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6R8 promotes the presymbiotic survival and growth of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor S238N in the soil.
- • An in vitro fungal–bacterial confrontation bioassay mimicking the promoting effects of the bacteria on fungal growth was set up to analyse the fungal morphological and transcriptional changes induced by the helper bacteria at three successive stages of the interaction. The specificity of the P. fluorescens BBc6R8 effect was assessed in comparison with six other rhizobacterial strains possessing mycorrhiza helper or pathogen antagonistic abilities.
- • The helper BBc6R8 strain was the only strain to induce increases in the radial growth of the colony, hyphal apex density and branching angle. These morphological modifications were coupled with pleiotropic alterations of the fungal transcriptome, which varied throughout the interaction. Early stage-responsive genes were presumably involved in recognition processes and transcription regulation, while late stage-responsive genes encoded proteins of primary metabolism. Some of the responsive genes were partly specific to the interaction with P. fluorescens BBc6R8, whereas others were mutually regulated by different rhizobacteria.
- • The results highlight the fact that the helper BBc6R8 strain has a specific priming effect on growth, morphology and gene expression of its fungal associate L. bicolor S238N.