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Abstract Detail

Botany 2015 Colloquium: Integrated perspectives on the ecology, genetics and coevolution of intimate mutualisms

Herre, Edward Allen [1].

Overview of Foliar Fungal Endophyte interactions with their host plants.

I will discuss the ecology and functional effects that foliar endophytic fungi have on their host plants. In particular, the dominant endophytic fungus normally associated with healthy Theobroma cacao (Colletotrihchum tropicale) causes the up- and down- regulation of hundreds of host genes. Many of the host genes are part of plant defensive pathways. Interestingly, the increased expression of some of those genes provides enhanced host resistance against pathogens, even without the physical presence of the endophyte or any of its chemical products. Further, the plant’s photosynthetic competence, and carbon and nitrogen allocation are altered, and this is reflected in the genes that are either up- or down-regulated. The endophyte induced effects on host gene exprssion provide a mechanism for the observed increase in resistance to both pathogens and herbivores (cellulose and lignin deposition in cell walls increases ~25%). Further, the benefits of increased resistance come with clear costs. The price of resistance appears to be diminished photosynthetic capacity, and altered nitrogen metabolism. More broadly, this indicates the ways in which a “plant” is not “just a plant”, but a chimera whose physical, chemical, physiological, and genetic properties depend on the identities of the interactions partners.

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1 - Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, unit 9100 Box 0948, dpo , aa, 34002-9998, USA

fungal endophytes
host gene expression
Stable isotope enrichment
induced resistance

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C4
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 4:30 PM
Number: C4012
Abstract ID:1195
Candidate for Awards:None

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