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

es 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.


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

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