Article: Journal of Visualized Experiments

A New Method for Qualitative Multi-scale Analysis of Bacterial Biofilms on Filamentous Fungal Colonies Using Confocal and Electron Microscopy. CM Guennoc, C Rose, F Guinnet, I Miquel, J Labbé, A Deveau. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), e54771-e54771



Bacterial biofilms frequently form on fungal surfaces and can be involved in numerous bacterial-fungal interaction processes, such as metabolic cooperation, competition, or predation. The study of biofilms is important in many biological fields, including environmental science, food production, and medicine. However, few studies have focused on such bacterial biofilms, partially due to the difficulty of investigating them. Most of the methods for qualitative and quantitative biofilm analyses described in the literature are only suitable for biofilms forming on abiotic surfaces or on homogeneous and thin biotic surfaces, such as a monolayer of epithelial cells.

While laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) is often used to analyze in situ and in vivo biofilms, this technology becomes very challenging when applied to bacterial biofilms on fungal hyphae, due to the thickness and the three dimensions of the hyphal networks. To overcome this shortcoming, we developed a protocol combining microscopy with a method to limit the accumulation of hyphal layers in fungal colonies. Using this method, we were able to investigate the development of bacterial biofilms on fungal hyphae at multiple scales using both LSCM and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This report describes the protocol, including microorganism cultures, bacterial biofilm formation conditions, biofilm staining, and LSCM and SEM visualizations.

PhD defense: C. Miquel-Guennoc

Cora Miquel-Guennoc  défendra publiquement sa thèse Lundi 6 mars à 14h30 (amphi 7 FST).

“Etude de l’interaction physique entre le champignon ectomycorhizien Laccaria bicolor S238N et la bactérie auxiliaire de la mycorhization Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6R8”


Dans les sols, les champignons ectomycorhiziens (ECM) forment une symbiose très répandue avec les racines des arbres et contribuent ainsi à leur croissance et à leur santé. Des études antérieures ont montré que certaines bactéries pouvaient influencer positivement la symbiose entre les ECM et les arbres, appelées BAM pour Bactéries Auxiliaires de la Mycorhization. Les mécanismes de l’effet auxiliaire des BAM sont encore peu connus. En amont de cette thèse, il avait été montré in vitro que la BAM Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6 formait des structures similaires à des biofilms sur les hyphes de l’ECM Laccaria bicolor. Dans ce contexte, afin d’enrichir les connaissances concernant les interactions entre les ECM et les BAM, cette thèse a porté sur l’interaction physique entre ces deux organismes. L’étude a en partie été réalisée via une méthode d’analyse par microscopie confocale, développée durant cette thèse. Les résultats obtenus ont montré que cette bactérie formait des biofilms localisés préférentiellement sur la région apicale des colonies de l’ECM ce qui pourrait indiquer une interaction trophique. L’existence d’une telle interaction a d’ailleurs par la suite été confirmée. Les résultats ont également montré que l’interaction physique entre L. bicolor et BBc6 n’est pas spécifique puisque l’ensemble des treize autres souches bactériennes testées a formé des biofilms sur les hyphes de L. bicolor. En revanche, BBc6 s’est montrée incapable de former des biofilms sur certains champignons appartenant aux Ascomycètes, suggérant des mécanismes d’inhibition. De plus, l’étude de la matrice des biofilms formés par BBc6R8 a révélé la présence de réseaux de filaments constitués d’ADN qui semblent structurer ces biofilms et qui ont aussi été observés chez l’ensemble des souches bactériennes testées. Ces résultats révèlent un rôle structural de la molécule d’ADN qui, bien qu’il semble répandu, n’a que peu été reporté jusqu’à présent. Enfin, il a été montré que des mutants de BBc6 qui ont perdu leur effet auxiliaire forment des biofilms différents de la souche sauvage sur une surface abiotique suggérant un lien potentiel entre l’effet auxiliaire et la formation de biofilms.


In soil ecosystems, ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) form a widespread symbiosis with roots of trees, contributing to tree growth and health. It has been shown that some bacteria, called mycorrhization helper bacteria (MHB), stimulate mycorrhizal symbiosis. The mechanisms of this helper effect are poorly understood. Previous studies have shown that the MHB Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6 formed biofilm-like structures around the hyphae of the ECM Laccaria bicolor during their in vitro interaction. In this context, in order to increase knowledge concerning MHB / ECM interactions, the work presented here focuses on the physical interaction between these two organisms. To this purpose, a method of analysis based on confocal microscopy was developed. The results showed that the bacteria formed biofilms preferentially localized on the apical region of the ECM colonies, which could indicate a trophic interaction. Such an interaction has been subsequently confirmed. The results also showed that the physical interaction between L. bicolor and BBc6 is not specific since all thirteen other bacterial strains tested formed biofilms on the hyphae of L. bicolor. On the other hand, BBc6 was unable to form biofilms on some fungi belonging to Ascomycetes, suggesting the existence of inhibition mechanisms. Moreover, the study of the BBc6 biofilm matrix revealed networks of DNA-containing filaments which seem to structure these biofilms and which have also been observed in all the bacterial strains tested. These results reveal a structural role of the DNA molecule, a role that has been rarely reported so far despite its probable high occurence. Finally, it has been shown that BBc6R8 mutants having lost their helper effect presented a modified phenotype concerning their biofilm formation on abiotic surface, suggesting a potential link between the helper effect and the biofilms formation.

Article: Nitric oxide

Post-translational modifications of Medicago truncatula glutathione peroxidase 1 induced by nitric oxide C Castella, I Mirtziou, A Seassau, A Boscari, F Montrichard, … Nitric Oxide


Plant glutathione peroxidases (Gpx) catalyse the reduction of various peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), phospholipid hydroperoxides and peroxynitrite, but at the expense of thioredoxins rather than glutathione. A main function of plant Gpxs is the protection of biological membranes by scavenging phospholipid hydroperoxides, but some Gpxs have also been associated with H2O2 sensing and redox signal transduction. Nitric oxide (NO) is not only known to induce the expression of Gpx family members, but also to inhibit Gpx activity, presumably through the S-nitrosylation of conserved cysteine residues. In the present study, the effects of NO-donors on both the activity and S-nitrosylation state of purified Medicago truncatula Gpx1 were analyzed using biochemical assay measurements and a biotin-switch/mass spectrometry approach. MtGpx1 activity was only moderately inhibited by the NO-donors diethylamine-NONOate and S-nitrosoglutathione, and the inhibition may be reversed by DTT. The three conserved Cys of MtGpx1 were found to be modified through S-nitrosylation and S-glutathionylation, although to different extents, by diethylamine-NONOate and S-nitrosoglutathione, or by a combination of diethylamine-NONOate and reduced glutathione. The regulation of MtGpx1 and its possible involvement in the signaling process is discussed in the light of these results.

Article: Environmental Microbiology

Functional outcomes of fungal community shifts driven by tree genotype and spatial‐temporal factors in Mediterranean pine forests L Pérez‐Izquierdo, M Zabal‐Aguirre, D Flores‐Rentería, … Environmental Microbiology


Fungi provide relevant ecosystem services contributing to primary productivity and the cycling of nutrients in forests. These fungal inputs can be decisive for the resilience of Mediterranean forests under global change scenarios, making necessary an in-deep knowledge about how fungal communities operate in these ecosystems. By using high-throughput sequencing and enzymatic approaches, we studied the fungal communities associated with three genotypic variants of Pinus pinaster trees, in 45-yr-old common garden plantations. We aimed to determine the impact of biotic (i.e. tree genotype) and abiotic (i.e. season, site) factors on the fungal community structure, and to explore whether structural shifts triggered functional responses affecting relevant ecosystem processes. Tree genotype and spatial-temporal factors were pivotal structuring fungal communities, mainly by influencing their assemblage and selecting certain fungi. Diversity variations of total fungal community and of that of specific fungal guilds, together with edaphic properties and tree’s productivity, explained relevant ecosystem services such as processes involved in carbon turnover and phosphorous mobilization. A mechanistic model integrating relations of these variables and ecosystem functional outcomes is provided. Our results highlight the importance of structural shifts in fungal communities because they may have functional consequences for key ecosystem processes in Mediterranean forests. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Article: Fungal Biology Reviews

Antifungal activities of wood extractives N Valette, T Perrot, R Sormani, E Gelhaye, M Morel-Rouhier. Fungal Biology Reviews


Extractives are non-structural wood molecules that represent a minor fraction in wood. However, they are source of diverse molecules putatively bioactive. Inhibition of fungal growth is one of the most interesting properties of wood extractives in a context of wood preservation, crop protection or medical treatments. The antifungal effect of molecules isolated from wood extractives has been mainly attributed to various mechanisms such as metal and free radical scavenging activity, direct interaction with enzymes, disruption of membrane integrity and perturbation of ionic homeostasis. Lignolytic fungi, which are microorganisms adapted to wood substrates, have developed various strategies to protect themselves against this toxicity. A better knowledge of these strategies could help both developing new systems for extractive removal in biomass valorization processes and using these molecules as antifungal agents

Article: BMC genomics

The transcriptional landscape of basidiosporogenesis in mature Pisolithus microcarpus basidiocarp M de Freitas Pereira, AN da Rocha Campos, TC Anastacio, E Morin, …BMC genomics 18 (1), 157


Background: Pisolithus microcarpus (Cooke & Massee) G. Cunn is a gasteromycete that produces closed basidiocarps in symbiosis with eucalypts and acacias. The fungus produces a complex basidiocarp composed of peridioles at different developmental stages and an upper layer of basidiospores free of the hyphae and ready for wind dispersal upon the rupture of the basidiocarp pellis. During basidiosporogenesis, a process that takes place inside the basidiocarp peridioles, a conspicuous reserve of fatty acids is present throughout development. While several previous studies have described basidiosporogenesis inside peridioles, very little is known about gene expression changes that may occur during this part of the fungal life cycle. The objective of this work was to analyze gene transcription during peridiole and basidiospore development, while focusing specifically on cell cycle progression and lipid metabolism.

Results: Throughout different developmental stages of the peridioles we analyzed, 737 genes were regulated between adjacent compartments (>5 fold, FDR-corrected p-value < 0.05) corresponding to 3.49% of the genes present in the P. microcarpus genome. We identified three clusters among the regulated genes which showed differential expression between the peridiole developmental stages and the basidiospores. During peridiole development, transcripts for proteins involved in cellular processes, signaling, and information storage were detected, notably those for coding transcription factors, DNA polymerase subunits, DNA repair proteins, and genes involved in chromatin structure. For both internal embedded basidiospores (hereto referred to as “Internal spores”, IS) and external free basidiospores (hereto referred to as “Free spores”, FS), upregulated transcripts were found to involve primary metabolism, particularly fatty acid metabolism (FA). High expression of transcripts related to β-oxidation and the glyoxylate shunt indicated that fatty acids served as a major carbon source for basidiosporogenesis.

Conclusion: Our results show that basidiocarp formation in P. microcarpus involves a complex array of genes that are regulated throughout peridiole development. We identified waves of transcripts with coordinated regulation and identified transcription factors which may play a role in this regulation. This is the first work to describe gene expression patterns during basidiocarp formation in an ectomycorrhizal gasteromycete fungus and sheds light on genes that may play important roles in the developmental process.

Keywords: Gene expression, Peridiole development, Spores, Cell cycle, Fatty acid metabolism

Article: MBio

The Identification of Phytohormone Receptor Homologs in Early Diverging Fungi Suggests a Role for Plant Sensing in Land Colonization by Fungi A Hérivaux, TD de Bernonville, C Roux, M Clastre, V Courdavault, … mBio 8 (1), e01739-16


Histidine kinases (HKs) are among the most prominent sensing proteins studied in the kingdom Fungi. Their distribution and biological functions in early diverging fungi (EDF), however, remain elusive. We have taken advantage of recent genomic resources to elucidate whether relationships between the occurrence of specific HKs in some EDF and their respective habitat/lifestyle could be established. This led to the unexpected discovery of fungal HKs that share a high degree of similarity with receptors for plant hormones (ethylene and cytokinin). Importantly, these phytohormone receptor homologs are found not only in EDF that behave as plant root symbionts or endophytes but also in EDF species that colonize decaying plant material. We hypothesize that these particular sensing proteins promoted the interaction of EDF with plants, leading to the conquest of land by these ancestral fungi.

Article: Geobiology

Identification, distribution, and quantification of biominerals in a deciduous forest C Krieger, C Calvaruso, C Morlot, S Uroz, L Salsi, MP Turpault Geobiology


Biomineralization is a common process in most vascular plants, but poorly investigated for trees. Although the presence of calcium oxalate and silica accumulation has been reported for some tree species, the chemical composition, abundance, and quantification of biominerals remain poorly documented. However, biominerals may play important physiological and structural roles in trees, especially in forest ecosystems, which are characterized by nutrient-poor soils. In this context, our study aimed at investigating the morphology, distribution, and relative abundance of biominerals in the different vegetative compartments (foliage, branch, trunk, and root) of Fagus sylvatica L. and Acer pseudoplatanus L. using a combination of scanning electron microscopy and tomography analyses. Biomineral crystallochemistry was assessed by X-ray diffraction and energy-dispersive X-ray analyses, while calcium, silicon, and oxalic acid were quantified in the compartments and at the forest scale. Our analyses revealed that biominerals occurred as crystals or coating layers mostly in bark and leaves and were identified as opal, whewellite, and complex biominerals. In both tree species, opal was mostly found in the external tissues of trunk, branch, and leaves, but also in the roots of beech. In the stand, opal represents around 170 kg/ha. Whewellite was found to suit to conductive tissues (i.e., axial phloem parenchyma, vascular bundles, vessel element) in all investigated compartments of the two tree species. The shape of whewellite was prismatic and druses in beech, and almost all described shapes were seen in sycamore maple. Notably, the amount of whewellite was strongly correlated with the total calcium in all investigated compartments whatever the tree species is, suggesting a biologic control of whewellite precipitation. The amount of whewellite in the aboveground biomass of Montiers forest was more important than that of opal and was around 1170 kg/ha. Therefore, biominerals contribute in a substantial way to the biogeochemical cycles of silicon and calcium.

Article: Plos one

New Insights into the Complex Relationship between Weight and Maturity of Burgundy Truffles (Tuber aestivum) U Büntgen, I Bagi, O Fekete, V Molinier, M Peter, R Splivallo, … PLOS ONE 12 (1), e0170375


Despite an increasing demand for Burgundy truffles (Tuber aestivum), gaps remain in our understanding of the fungus’ overall lifecycle and ecology. Here, we compile evidence from three independent surveys in Hungary and Switzerland. First, we measured the weight and maturity of 2,656 Taestivum fruit bodies from a three-day harvest in August 2014 in a highly productive orchard in Hungary. All specimens ranging between 2 and 755 g were almost evenly distributed through five maturation classes. Then, we measured the weight and maturity of another 4,795 Taestivum fruit bodies harvested on four occasions between June and October 2015 in the same truffière. Again, different maturation stages occurred at varying fruit body size and during the entire fruiting season. Finally, the predominantly unrelated weight and maturity of 81 Taestivum fruit bodies from four fruiting seasons between 2010 and 2013 in Switzerland confirmed the Hungarian results. The spatiotemporal coexistence of 7,532 small-ripe and large-unripe Taestivum, which accumulate to ~182 kg, differs from species-specific associations between the size and ripeness that have been reported for other mushrooms. Although size-independent truffle maturation stages may possibly relate to the perpetual belowground environment, the role of mycelial connectivity, soil property, microclimatology, as well as other abiotic factors and a combination thereof, is still unclear. Despite its massive sample size and proof of concept, this study, together with existing literature, suggests consideration of a wider ecological and biogeographical range, as well as the complex symbiotic fungus-host interaction, to further illuminate the hidden development of belowground truffle fruit bodies.

Article: Mycorrhiza

Comparative genomics and expression levels of hydrophobins from eight mycorrhizal genomes. F Rineau, H Lmalem, D Ahren, F Shah, T Johansson, L Coninx, J Ruytinx, … Mycorrhiza, 1-14


Hydrophobins are small secreted proteins that are present as several gene copies in most fungal genomes. Their properties are now well understood: they are amphiphilic and assemble at hydrophilic/hydrophobic interfaces. However, their physiological functions remain largely unexplored, especially within mycorrhizal fungi. In this study, we identified hydrophobin genes and analysed their distribution in eight mycorrhizal genomes. We then measured their expression levels in three different biological conditions (mycorrhizal tissue vs. free-living mycelium, organic vs. mineral growth medium and aerial vs. submerged growth). Results confirmed that the size of the hydrophobin repertoire increased in the terminal orders of the fungal evolutionary tree. Reconciliation analysis predicted that in 41% of the cases, hydrophobins evolved from duplication events. Whatever the treatment and the fungal species, the pattern of expression of hydrophobins followed a reciprocal function, with one gene much more expressed than others from the same repertoire. These most-expressed hydrophobin genes were also among the most expressed of the whole genome, which suggests that they play a role as structural proteins. The fine-tuning of the expression of hydrophobin genes in each condition appeared complex because it differed considerably between species, in a way that could not be explained by simple ecological traits. Hydrophobin gene regulation in mycorrhizal tissue as compared with free-living mycelium, however, was significantly associated with a calculated high exposure of hydrophilic residues.