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Global changes in asexual epichloë transcriptomes during the early stages, from seed to seedling, of symbiotum establishment

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posted on 22.06.2021, 23:42 by IK Hettiarachchige, CJV Jagt, RC Mann, Tim Sawbridge, German Spangenberg, KM Guthridge
Asexual Epichloë fungi are strictly seed-transmitted endophytic symbionts of cool-season grasses and spend their entire life cycle within the host plant. Endophyte infection can confer protective benefits to its host through the production of bioprotective compounds. Inversely, plants provide nourishment and shelter to the resident endophyte in return. Current understanding of the changes in global gene expression of asexual Epichloë endophytes during the early stages of host-endophyte symbiotum is limited. A time-course study using a deep RNA-sequencing approach was performed at six stages of germination, using seeds infected with one of three endophyte strains belonging to different representative taxa. Analysis of the most abundantly expressed endophyte genes identified that most were predicted to have a role in stress and defence responses. The num-ber of differentially expressed genes observed at early time points was greater than those detected at later time points, suggesting an active transcriptional reprogramming of endophytes at the onset of seed germination. Gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed dynamic changes in global gene expression consistent with the developmental processes of symbiotic relationships. Expression of pathway genes for biosynthesis of key secondary metabolites was studied comprehensively and fuzzy clustering identified some unique expression patterns. Furthermore, comparisons of the tran-scriptomes from three endophyte strains in planta identified genes unique to each strain, including genes predicted to be associated with secondary metabolism. Findings from this study highlight the importance of better understanding the unique properties of individual endophyte strains and will serve as an excellent resource for future studies of host-endophyte interactions.

History

Publication Date

04/05/2021

Journal

Microorganisms

Volume

9

Issue

5

Article Number

991

Pagination

pp. 23

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

2076-2607

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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