Navigation Links
Secrets of cooperation between trees and fungi revealed
Date:3/5/2008

Gent, Belgium Trees and fungi have constructed a close relationship with the passing of the ages. Fungi like to grow between the roots of trees and the arrangement is beneficial to both partners. Their delicate balance is now being revealed for the very first time. VIB researchers at Ghent University in colaboration with an international team have succeeded in unravelling the genetic code of the Laccaria bicolor fungus. This new information is crucial to our knowledge. It will lead to a better understanding of how fungi help trees to grow and how together they can be indicators of climate change.

Trees and fungi live happily together

Trees are the lungs of the earth. They draw CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into sugars, which then become a source of energy. In the process they breathe O2 back into the atmosphere. This green production of biomass trees account for 90% of the planets land-based biomass is a major influence on the health of our planet.

Trees grow better and faster when certain specialized micro-organisms occur in their root systems. One such organism is the Laccaria bicolor fungus. The symbiotic relationship of the fungus and the tree root systems is advantageous to both. The fungus facilitates the uptake of scarce nutrients such as phosphates and nitrogen and protects the roots against parasites in the soil. In return they are able to draw on the sugars in the roots. 85% of all plants and trees are dependent on symbiotic processes of this kind for their growth.

Genetic code of symbiotic fungus yields up first secrets

An international collaborative project was set up to characterize the genome of the soil fungus Laccaria bicolor . VIB scientists Pierre Rouz and Yves Van de Peer, working with Frances renowned INRA and JGI of the US, have sequenced the DNA of the fungus. They have been able to identify 20,000 genes in the fungal genome. Their analyses immediately resulted in new knowledge, including the discovery of an arsenal of small proteins known as SSPs (small secreted proteins), which are only made at those places where the fungus and the tree root come into contact. The genome study also revealed that the fungus is unable to break down plant cells but does affect the cell walls of pathogens. This could explain how these fungi protect their symbiotic partners. Additionally the researchers identified genes which play a role in communicating with all the players in the surroundings of the roots of the host tree during growth.

Fungi: barometers of climate change?

A better understanding of the genetic secrets of this fungus does not just hold out the prospect of being able to optimize biomass production; research into the delicate balance between fungus and tree may also yield important information that could be used to monitor climate change. Not only has the genome of the Laccaria bicolor been fully sequenced, that of the poplar, one of the trees with which it forms a relationship, is also fully known. This will make it possible to find out exactly how tree and fungus cooperate and react to stress factors such as drought or extreme temperatures resulting from climate change. The hope exists that the assembled information will result in concrete applications in which trees and fungi can be deployed to the benefit of both people and the environment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joke Comijn
info@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetic tags reveal secrets of memories staying power in mice
2. Birds, bats and insects hold secrets for aerospace engineers
3. Research reveals secrets of alcohols effect on brain cells
4. New research to decode the genetic secrets of prolific potato pest
5. Ripening secrets of the vine revealed
6. Eat chocolate, drink wine, add fun to life: SLU geriatrician shares secrets of staying young
7. New study uncovers secrets behind butterfly wing patterns
8. Scientists gather in New Zealand to share oceans secrets
9. NMR researchers unlock hydrogens secrets to spot polymorphism in pharmaceuticals
10. Scientists eye secrets of retinal regeneration
11. MIT unraveling secrets of red tide
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly ... technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is ... manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... DIEGO , June 24, 2016 ... more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has ... HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: