Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Lucero, Mary , Barrow, Jerry R. .
Exploring fine-scale and broad-scale interactions between cryptic endophyte consortia and Atriplex hosts.
Cryptic endophyte consortia associated with viable Atriplex seeds and micropropagated plants are believed to serve mutualistic functions that enhance host plant tolerance to environmental extremes. The seedborne, systemic nature suggests potential for broad ecological effects of host-endophyte associations. Experiments with co-cultivation suggest uncultured endophytes may be transferred to novel hosts, providing a powerful mechanism to enhance plant adaptation to changing ecosystems. However, the complexity of these endophyte communities makes individual components difficult to describe even in vitro. Thus, cause and relationships are difficult to discern.
We have examined Atriplex endophytes through culturing, co-culturing, microscopy and PCR-based methods. PCR methods targeting fungal internal transcribed spacer and small subunit DNA regions have lacked adequate specificity, preferentially amplifying host plant sequences while missing endophytes visible by microscopy. Meanwhile, some microbes present in the tissues have resisted culturing on artificial medium. Recent experiments with cryosectioning demonstrate endophytes can be physically excised from cell surfaces and may provide a source of uncontaminated endophyte DNA from which PCR can proceed. An alternative approach: metagenomic analysis of the micropropagated system, may be necessary to fully describe the complexity of this consortium and identify suitable markers for selectively detecting individual microbes.
For endophytes that have already been identified, bioassays and parallel phylogeographic analyses are being initiated to provide insights towards contributions of endophytes in specific habitats.
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1 - USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range, Mail Stop Code 3JER, NMSU, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM, 88003, United States
2 - USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Wasatch B/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 10:45 AM