Volatile-mediated communication between poplar and ectomycorrhizal fungi

Duration of the project: 2011 - 2019

Contact: Stephanie Werner, Email: swerner1(at)gwdg.de

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are small molecules that are emitted in nature by a huge variety of organisms. Especially fungi have in many cases very complex VOC bouquets which can have severe effects on growth and development of neighboring organisms like plants. The EM fungus Laccaria bicolor emits a broad spectrum of different VOCs. Experiments in our lab have shown that L. bicolor emits prior to mycorrhiza formation a VOCs mixture enhancing lateral root formation (LR) and root hair growth in potential hosts like poplar but also in the non-host plant A. thaliana. Further experiments demonstrated that the main component responsible for this plant root manipulation is the SQT (-)-thujopsene which is also, when tested alone with the plants, able to induce LR formation. The ongoing project focusses on the signaling pathways in the plant leading to changed root growth architecture induced by VOCs.

Publications and Dissemination

Ditengou FA, Müller A, Rosenkranz M, Felten J, Lasok H, van Doorn MM, Legué V, Palme K, Schnitzler J-P, Polle A. (2015). Volatile signalling by sesquiterpenes from ectomycorrhizal fungi reprogrammes root architecture. Nature Communications 6: 6279, doi: 10.1038/ncomms7279

Müller A, Kaling M, Faubert P, Gort G, Smid HM, Van Loon JJA, Dicke M, Kanawati B, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Polle A, Schnitzler J-P, Rosenkranz M (2015) Isoprene emission in poplar is not important for the feeding behaviour of poplar leaf beetles. BMC Plant Biology 15:165, doi: 10.1186/s12870-015-0542-1

Müller A, Faubert P, Hagen M, zu Castell W, Polle A, Schnitzler J-P, Rosenkranz M. (2013). Volatile profiles of fungi - Chemotyping of species and ecological functions. Fungal Genetics and Biology 54: 25-33, doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2013.02.005

Müller A, Volmer K, Mishra-Knyrim M, Polle A (2013) Growing poplars for research with and without mycorrhizas. Frontiers in Plant Science 4:322, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00332

PhD Thesis
Müller A. (2015) Communication between mycorrhizal fungi and poplar. Thesis University of Göttingen, 118 pages. Online:  http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-1735-0000-0022-5F88-6

Göttinger Tageblatt: 11.3.2015: Duft regt Wachstum an. Online: http://www.goettinger-tageblatt.de/Campus/Goettingen/Goettinger-Forscher-entdecken-Wechselwirkung-bei-Pilzen-und-Pflanzen

Der Sonntag in Freiburg: 19.4.2015: Ein Duft, der wachsen lässt.

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung: Pflanzenforschung.de: Netzwerken im Untergrund: Pilzdüfte des Zweifarbigen Lacktrichterlings lassen Wurzeln sprießen. Online: http://www.goettinger-tageblatt.de/Campus/Goettingen/Goettinger-Forscher-entdecken-Wechselwirkung-bei-Pilzen-und-Pflanzen

Biotechnologie.de: Symbiose: Pilzduft lässt Pflanzenwurzeln sprießen. Online unter: http://www.goettinger-tageblatt.de/Campus/Goettingen/Goettinger-Forscher-entdecken-Wechselwirkung-bei-Pilzen-und-Pflanzen

Laborjournal 2015 05: Ersprießliche Pilzdüfte. Online: http://www.laborjournal-archiv.de/epaper/LJ_15_05/index.html#28/z

Funding acknowledgement

The project "Poplar communication" was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under contract number Po362/20-1.