Article: Microbiology spectrum

The Fungal Tree of Life: from Molecular Systematics to Genome-Scale Phylogenies. JW Spatafora, MC Aime, IV Grigoriev, F Martin, JE Stajich, M Blackwell. Microbiology spectrum 5 (5)


The kingdom Fungi is one of the more diverse clades of eukaryotes in terrestrial ecosystems, where they provide numerous ecological services ranging from decomposition of organic matter and nutrient cycling to beneficial and antagonistic associations with plants and animals. The evolutionary relationships of the kingdom have represented some of the more recalcitrant problems in systematics and phylogenetics. The advent of molecular phylogenetics, and more recently phylogenomics, has greatly advanced our understanding of the patterns and processes associated with fungal evolution, however. In this article, we review the major phyla, subphyla, and classes of the kingdom Fungi and provide brief summaries of ecologies, morphologies, and exemplar taxa. We also provide examples of how molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary genomics have advanced our understanding of fungal evolution within each of the phyla and some of the major classes. In the current classification we recognize 8 phyla, 12 subphyla, and 46 classes within the kingdom. The ancestor of fungi is inferred to be zoosporic, and zoosporic fungi comprise three lineages that are paraphyletic to the remainder of fungi. Fungi historically classified as zygomycetes do not form a monophyletic group and are paraphyletic to Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are each monophyletic and collectively form the subkingdom Dikarya.

Article: BMC genomics

Regulatory networks underlying mycorrhizal development delineated by genome-wide expression profiling and functional analysis of the transcription factor repertoire of the plant symbiotic fungus Laccaria bicolor. Y Daguerre, E Levati, J Ruytinx, E Tisserant, E Morin, A Kohler, … BMC genomics 18 (1), 737



Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi develop a mutualistic symbiotic interaction with the roots of their host plants. During this process, they undergo a series of developmental transitions from the running hyphae in the rhizosphere to the coenocytic hyphae forming finger-like structures within the root apoplastic space. These transitions, which involve profound, symbiosis-associated metabolic changes, also entail a substantial transcriptome reprogramming with coordinated waves of differentially expressed genes. To date, little is known about the key transcriptional regulators driving these changes, and the aim of the present study was to delineate and functionally characterize the transcription factor (TF) repertoire of the model ECM fungus Laccaria bicolor.


We curated the L. bicolor gene models coding for transcription factors and assessed their expression and regulation in Poplar and Douglas fir ectomycorrhizae. We identified 285 TFs, 191 of which share a significant similarity with known transcriptional regulators. Expression profiling of the corresponding transcripts identified TF-encoding fungal genes differentially expressed in the ECM root tips of both host plants. The L. bicolor core set of differentially expressed TFs consists of 12 and 22 genes that are, respectively, upregulated and downregulated in symbiotic tissues. These TFs resemble known fungal regulators involved in the control of fungal invasive growth, fungal cell wall integrity, carbon and nitrogen metabolism, invasive stress response and fruiting-body development. However, this core set of mycorrhiza-regulated TFs seems to be characteristic of L. bicolor and our data suggest that each mycorrhizal fungus has evolved its own set of ECM development regulators. A subset of the above TFs was functionally validated with the use of a heterologous, transcription activation assay in yeast, which also allowed the identification of previously unknown, transcriptionally active yet secreted polypeptides designated as Secreted Transcriptional Activator Proteins (STAPs).


Transcriptional regulators required for ECM symbiosis development in L. bicolor have been uncovered and classified through genome-wide analysis. This study also identifies the STAPs as a new class of potential ECM effectors, highly expressed in mycorrhizae, which may be involved in the control of the symbiotic root transcriptome.

Article: Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Tree roots select specific bacterial communities in the subsurface critical zone O Nicolitch, Y Colin, MP Turpault, L Fauchery, S Uroz. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 115, 109-123


In soils characterized by nutrient-poor conditions trees have developed strategies to maximize the exploration of the environment through their root system. Notably, in shallow soils, trees adopt a deep-rooting strategy to access appropriate levels of water and nutrients from the bedrock. Despite the critical importance of microorganisms in nutrient access in topsoil, understanding their involvement in subsoil was rarely addressed. Our study provides the first comprehensive picture of the bacterial communities colonizing deep roots at the bedrock interface. Particularly, we aimed at deciphering if the subsoil edaphic conditions allowed the enrichment of specific bacterial communities in the rhizosphere. To answer such questioning, we focused on a shallow soil dominated by deep-rooting beech trees (Fagus sylvatica). The taxonomic and functional structures of bacterial communities were investigated through 16S rRNA-pyrosequencing analyses and in vitro bioassays on culturable representatives isolated from the saprolite, the limestone rocks and the roots penetrating those two compartments at the bedrock interface. Our taxonomic analyses revealed a rhizosphere effect, with no difference between the limestone- and saprolite-rhizosphere bacterial communities. Notably, our functional assays highlighted a significant enrichment of bacteria effective at mineral weathering in the limestone-rhizosphere compared to the surrounding environment, whereas organic matter decomposing bacteria were exclusively enriched in the saprolite-rhizosphere. Altogether our results suggest that tree roots select specific bacterial communities in subsoil as potential allies to improve nutrient availability and tree nutrition.

Article: J Plant Biochem Physiol

Covalent and Non-Covalent Associations Mediate MED28 Homo J Shaikhali, N Rouhier, A Hecker, K Brännström, G Wingsle.  J Plant Biochem Physiol 5:189. doi:10.4172/2329-9029.1000189


The Mediator is a multi-protein complex that plays a key role in modulating gene expression. Our previous studies suggested that the MED10a, MED28, MED32 complex subunits could be subject to redox regulation. In this study we tested the capacity of different thioredoxins (TRXs) from poplar (TRX-H3 and TRX-H5) and Arabidopsis thaliana (TPR repeat-containing thioredoxin, TDX) as well as glutaredoxins (GRXs) from poplar (GRX-C3 and GRX-C4) to reduce MED28 oligomers in vitro and found that these proteins were less efficient than the the previously tested poplar TRX-H1 and Arabidopsis GRX-C1. Concerning the susceptibility of MED28 to oxidation, both hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) are efficiently mediating the formation of intermolecular disulfides. In fact, MED28 forms homo- oligomers in vivo as assessed by yeast two-hybrid experiments but also in vitro in solution as shown by size-exclusion chromatography, the latter also demonstrated the formation of non- covalent homo-oligomers. These findings suggest that both the redox-dependent and – independent MED28 oligomerization could regulate its biological activities, could it be linked or not to the Mediator. In particular, it would be important to assess MED28 oligomerization state during senescence considering the previously observed phenotype of med28 plants.

Article: Photorespiration

In Vitro Alkylation Methods for Assessing the Protein Redox State. F Zannini, J Couturier, O Keech, N Rouhier. Photorespiration, 51-64


Cysteines are important residues for protein structure, function, and regulation. Owing to their modified reactivity, some cysteines can undergo very diverse redox posttranslational modifications, including the reversible formation of disulfide bonds, a widespread protein regulatory process as well exemplified in plant chloroplasts for Calvin-Benson cycle enzymes. Both core- and peripheral-photorespiratory enzymes possess conserved cysteines, some of which have been identified as being subject to oxidative modifications. This is not surprising considering their presence in subcellular compartments where the production of reactive species can be important. However, in most cases, the types of modifications and their biochemical effect on protein activity have not been validated, meaning that the possible impact of these modifications in a complex physiological context, such as photorespiration, remains obscure.

We here describe a detailed set of protocols for alkylation methods that have been used so far to (1) study the protein cysteine redox state either in vitro by submitting purified recombinant proteins to reducing/oxidation treatments or in vivo by western blots on protein extracts from plants subject to environmental constraints, and its dependency on the two major reducing systems in the cell, i.e., the thioredoxin and glutathione/glutaredoxin systems, and (2) determine two key redox parameters, i.e., the cysteine pKa and the redox midpoint potential.

Article: Plant, Cell & Environment

Involvement of Arabidopsis glutaredoxin S14 in the maintenance of chlorophyll content P Rey, N Becuwe, S Tourrette, N Rouhier Plant, Cell & Environment


Plant class-II glutaredoxins (GRXs) are oxidoreductases carrying a CGFS active site signature and are able to bind iron-sulfur clusters in vitro. In order to explore the physiological functions of the two plastidial class-II isoforms, GRXS14 and GRXS16, we generated knockdown and overexpression Arabidopsis thaliana lines and characterized their phenotypes using physiological and biochemical approaches. Plants deficient in one GRX did not display any growth defect, whereas the growth of plants lacking both was slowed. Plants overexpressing GRXS14 exhibited reduced chlorophyll content in control, high light and high salt conditions. However, when exposed to prolonged darkness, plants lacking GRXS14 showed accelerated chlorophyll loss compared to WT and overexpression lines. We observed that the GRXS14 abundance and the proportion of reduced form were modified in WT upon darkness and high salt. The dark treatment also resulted in decreased abundance of proteins involved in the maturation of iron-sulfur proteins. We propose that the phenotype of GRXS14-modified lines results from its participation in the control of chlorophyll content in relation with light and osmotic conditions, possibly through a dual action e.g. regulating the redox status of biosynthetic enzymes and contributing to the biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters, which are essential cofactors in chlorophyll metabolism.

Article: Industrial Crops and Products

Characterization of bark extractives of different industrial Indonesian wood species for potential valorization. NA Rosdiana, S Dumarçay, C Gérardin, H Chapuis, FJ Santiago-Medina, … Industrial Crops and Products 108, 121-127


Barks are available as waste material and by-product of wood industry. They have been reported to contain interesting molecules and show some bioactivity such as antioxidant and antifungal. This study aimed at evaluating the amounts of extractives in Acacia mangium (acacia), Paraserianthes falcataria (sengon) and Swietenia mahagoni(mahoni) barks, to evaluate their extractive contents and the presence of potential valuable molecules. The extraction method used soxhlet with four different solvents. Antioxidant activity assays were carried out using methyl linoleate and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrilhidrazyl (DPPH) and the antifungal activity was determinate by fungal growth inhibitions assays. 5.3%–18.5% extraction yields were obtained. All acetone and toluene ethanol extracts show high antioxidant activity by DPPH. The highest antioxidant value obtained by DPPH was obtained for mahoni bark acetone extract with 3.9 mg/L of EC50, followed by mahoni bark toluene ethanol 6.8 mg/L, acacia bark acetone 7 mg/L, and acacia bark toluene ethanol extract 7.4 mg/L. Sengon bark extracts had the greatest antifungal activity inhibition. The greatest antioxidant and antifungal activity were obtained with phenolic compounds which were contained in the extracts.

Article: FEBS Journal

Structural plasticity among glutathione transferase Phi members: natural combination of catalytic residues confers dual biochemical activities. H Pégeot, S Mathiot, T Perrot, F Gense, A Hecker, C Didierjean, … The FEBS journal


The glutathione transferase (GST) gene family is divided into fourteen classes in photosynthetic organisms. Among them, the Phi class (GSTF) is composed of a large number of genes that are often induced in response to environmental constraints due to their ability to detoxify xenobiotics, to their peroxidase activity and to their involvement in the biosynthesis and/or transport of secondary metabolites. However, the exact functions of GSTFs from many plants including Populus trichocarpa are unknown. Here, following GSTF1 characterization, we have performed a comparative analysis of the seven other GSTFs found in poplar by systematically evaluating the biochemical and enzymatic properties of the corresponding recombinant proteins and of variants mutated for active site residues and by determining the three-dimensional structures of several representatives. Owing to the presence of a cysteine with a pKa value around 5 in their active site, GSTF3, F7 and F8 displayed a thiol transferase activity in addition to the usual glutathione transferase and peroxidase activities. From structural analyses, it appeared that these dual biochemical properties originate from the existence of a certain variability in the β1-α1 loop. This allows positioning of several active site residues at proximity of the glutathione molecule, which itself remains unchanged in GSTF three-dimensional structures. These results highlight the promiscuity of some GSTFs and that changes of active site residues in some isoforms during evolution generated functional diversity by modifying their activity profile.

Article: Science

Ancestral alliances: Plant mutualistic symbioses with fungi and bacteria FM Martin, S Uroz, DG Barker Science 356 (6340), eaad4501


Within the plant microbiota, mutualistic fungal and bacterial symbionts are striking examples of microorganisms playing crucial roles in nutrient acquisition. They have coevolved with their hosts since initial plant adaptation to land. Despite the evolutionary distances that separate mycorrhizal and nitrogen-fixing symbioses, these associations share a number of highly conserved features, including specific plant symbiotic signaling pathways, root colonization strategies that circumvent plant immune responses, functional host-microbe interface formation, and the central role of phytohormones in symbiosis-associated root developmental pathways. We highlight recent and emerging areas of investigation relating to these evolutionarily conserved mechanisms, with an emphasis on the more ancestral mycorrhizal associations, and consider to what extent this knowledge can contribute to an understanding of plant-microbiota associations as a whole.

CP Science 2017_

Article: Journal of Proteome Research

iTRAQ and RNA-Seq analyses provide new insights into regulation mechanism of symbiotic germination of Dendrobium officinale seeds (Orchidaceae). J Chen, S Liu, A Kohler, B Yan, HM Luo, X Chen, SX Guo. Journal of Proteome Research


Mycorrhizal fungi colonize orchid seeds and induce germination. This so-called symbiotic germination is a critical developmental process in the lifecycle of all orchid species. However, the molecular changes that occur during orchid seed symbiotic germination remain largely unknown. To better understand the molecular mechanism of orchid seed germination, we performed a comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of the Chinese traditional medicinal orchid Dendrobium officinale to explore the change in protein expression at the different developmental stages during asymbiotic and symbiotic germination and identify the key proteins that regulate the symbiotic germination of orchid seeds. Among 2256 identified plant proteins, 308 were differentially expressed across three developmental stages during asymbiotic and symbiotic germination, and 229 were differentially expressed during symbiotic germination compared to asymbiotic development. Of these, 32 proteins were coup-regulated at both the proteomic and transcriptomic levels during symbiotic germination compared to asymbiotic germination. Our results suggest that symbiotic germination of D. officinale seeds shares a common signaling pathway with asymbiotic germination during the early germination stage. However, compared to asymbiotic germination, fungal colonization of orchid seeds appears to induce higher and earlier expression of some key proteins involved in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and thus improves the efficiency of utilization of stored substances present in the embryo. This study provides new insight into the molecular basis of orchid seed germination.