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Current Research (PhD Thesis):
Interaction of ectomycorrhizal fungi and trees is a widespread symbiosis in nature known to improve plant growth, especially under stress conditions. Together, both organisms perform important functions in the ecosystem. So far, however, the molecular processes of communication and physiology are only partly understood.
In the basidiomycete fungus Tricholoma vaccinum in interaction with its compatible plant host spruce (Picea abies), it has been shown that an aldehyde dehydrogenase gene, ald1, is specifically expressed. Ald1 of T. vaccinum was proposed to be enrolled in phytohormone production (auxin/indole-3-acetic acid, IAA), likewise functioning in the detoxification of aldehydes and alcohols such as ethanol, which are found in mycorrhiza habitats under stress conditions like water-logging (anoxia), in ageing and diseased plants.
With this PhD project offered within the IMPRS, function analysis of fungal aldehyde dehydrogenases in T. vaccinum is intended, especially both getting a better inside into the IAA biosynthesis in T. vaccinum and investigating IAA transport in ectomycorrhizal fungi. Ethanol detoxification could be proven since overexpressing ald1 mutants showed increased ethanol stress tolerance. In the T. vaccinum genome seven further ald genes could be annotated, which are analyzed by qPCR for induction by chemical triggers like alcohols, aldehydes and biotic signals. To link between systemic reactions of the tree to one or more specific root factors, like mycorrhiza, a volatile collection system was developed, which allows us to characterize changes in the volatile pattern of young coniferous trees.
With this study, our understanding of the communication pathways between organisms should be extended, which will affect also phytosanitary applications.
last updated on 2014-04-16