Transcriptional Profiles of a Foliar Fungal Endophyte (Pestalotiopsis, Ascomycota) and Its Bacterial Symbiont (Luteibacter, Gammaproteobacteria) Reveal Sulfur Exchange and Growth Regulation during Early Phases of Symbiotic Interaction

Justin P. Shaffer, Morgan E. Carter, Joseph E. Spraker, Meara Clark, Brian A. Smith, Kevin L. Hockett, David A. Baltrus, A. Elizabeth Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Symbiosis with bacteria is widespread among eukaryotes, including fungi. Bacteria that live within fungal mycelia (endohyphal bacteria) occur in many plant-associated fungi, including diverse Mucoromycota and Dikarya. Pestalotiopsis sp. strain 9143 is a filamentous ascomycete isolated originally as a foliar endophyte of Platycladus orientalis (Cupressaceae). It is infected naturally with the endohyphal bacterium Luteibacter sp. strain 9143, which influences auxin and enzyme production by its fungal host. Previous studies have used transcriptomics to examine similar symbioses between endohyphal bacteria and root-associated fungi such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant pathogens. However, currently there are no gene expression studies of endohyphal bacteria of Ascomycota, the most species-rich fungal phylum. To begin to understand such symbioses, we developed methods for assessing gene expression by Pestalotiopsis sp. and Luteibacter sp. when grown in coculture and when each was grown axenically. Our assays showed that the density of Luteibacter sp. in coculture was greater than in axenic culture, but the opposite was true for Pestalotiopsis sp. Dual-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data demonstrate that growing in coculture modulates developmental and metabolic processes in both the fungus and bacterium, potentially through changes in the balance of organic sulfur via methionine acquisition. Our analyses also suggest an unexpected, potential role of the bacterial type VI secretion system in symbiosis establishment, expanding current understanding of the scope and dynamics of fungal-bacterial symbioses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalmSystems
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Platycladus orientalis
  • RNA-seq
  • bacterial-fungal interactions
  • culture conditions
  • endobacteria
  • gene expression
  • interdomain
  • interkingdom
  • symbiosis
  • transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Computer Science Applications

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