Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Phylogenic diversity and tissue specificity of fungal endophytes associated with the pharmaceutical plant, Stellera chamaejasme L. revealed by a cultivation-independent approach.

PMID 26194722


The fungal endophytes associated with medicinal plants have been demonstrated as a reservoir with novel natural products useful in medicine and agriculture. It is desirable to explore the species composition, diversity and tissue specificity of endophytic fungi that inhabit in different tissues of medicinal plants. In this study, a culture-independent survey of fungal diversity in the rhizosphere, leaves, stems and roots of a toxic medicinal plant, Stellera chamaejasme L., was conducted by sequence analysis of clone libraries of the partial internal transcribed spacer region. Altogether, 145 fungal OTUs (operational taxonomic units), represented by 464 sequences, were found in four samples, of these 109 OTUs (75.2 %) belonging to Ascomycota, 20 (13.8 %) to Basidiomycota, 14 (9.7 %) to Zygomycota, 1 (0.7 %) to Chytridiomycota, and 1 (0.7 %) to Glomeromycota. The richness and diversity of fungal communities were strongly influenced by plant tissue environments, and the roots are associated with a surprisingly rich endophyte community. The endophyte assemblages associated with S. chamaejasme were strongly shaped by plant tissue environments, and exhibited a certain degree of tissue specificity. Our results suggested that a wide variety of fungal assemblages inhabit in S. chamaejasme, and plant tissue environments conspicuously influence endophyte community structure.