Ectomycorrhizal ecology is imprinted in the genome of the dominant symbiotic fungus Cenococcum geophilum

Martina Peter, Annegret Kohler, Robin A. Ohm, Alan Kuo, Jennifer Krützmann, Emmanuelle Morin, Matthias Arend, Kerrie W. Barry, Manfred Binder, Cindy Choi, Alicia Clum, Alex Copeland, Nadine Grisel, Sajeet Haridas, Tabea Kipfer, Kurt LaButti, Erika Lindquist, Anna Lipzen, Renaud Maire, Barbara MeierSirma Mihaltcheva, Virginie Molinier, Claude Murat, Stefanie Pöggeler, C. Alisha Quandt, Christoph Sperisen, Andrew Tritt, Emilie Tisserant, Pedro W. Crous, Bernard Henrissat, Uwe Nehls, Simon Egli, Joseph W. Spatafora, Igor V. Grigoriev, Francis M. Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    124 Citations (Scopus)


    The most frequently encountered symbiont on tree roots is the ascomycete Cenococcum geophilum, the only mycorrhizal species within the largest fungal class Dothideomycetes, a class known for devastating plant pathogens. Here we show that the symbiotic genomic idiosyncrasies of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes are also present in C. geophilum with symbiosis-induced, taxon-specific genes of unknown function and reduced numbers of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes. C. geophilum still holds a significant set of genes in categories known to be involved in pathogenesis and shows an increased genome size due to transposable elements proliferation. Transcript profiling revealed a striking upregulation of membrane transporters, including aquaporin water channels and sugar transporters, and mycorrhiza-induced small secreted proteins (MiSSPs) in ectomycorrhiza compared with free-living mycelium. The frequency with which this symbiont is found on tree roots and its possible role in water and nutrient transport in symbiosis calls for further studies on mechanisms of host and environmental adaptation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12662
    Number of pages15
    JournalNature Communications
    Publication statusPublished - 07 Sept 2016


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