Fungal biology

The effects of hydroxy fatty acids on the hyphal branching of germinated spores of AM fungi.

PMID 21530917


Two hydroxy fatty acids, tentatively identified previously in carrot root exudates, were tested for their effects on hyphal growth of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus, Gigaspora gigantea (Nicol. and Gerd.) Gerdemann and Trappe. Best results were achieved with a long-term bioassay (7-8d) with nanomolar concentrations throughout the Petri dish in contrast to the rapid microinjection bioassay (16-24h) in which nanogram quantities were injected near growing hyphal tips. When 5nM 2-hydroxy fatty acids of various chain length were tested, the length of the hydroxyl fatty acid was significant since only 2-hydroxytetradecanoic acid (2OH-TDA) and to a slightly lesser degree, 2-hydroxydodecanoic acid (2OH-DDA) induced a hyphal growth response while 2-hydroxydecanoic acid (2OH-DA) and 2-hydroxyhexadecanoic (2OH-HDA) acid did not. The position of the hydroxyl group was critical since 5nM 3-hydroxytetradecanoic acid (3OH-TDA) had no effect on hyphal growth. The length of the non-hydroxy containing straight chain fatty acid, per se, did not appear significant since none of these fatty acids had an effect on hyphal growth. The morphological growth response promoted by 2OH-TDA consisted of multiple lateral branches, spaced fairly regularly apart, along the primary germ tubes as well as some lateral branch formation off the major secondary hyphae. This growth response was identical to that observed when germinated spores were allowed to grow towards cultured carrot roots in vitro. This response to 2OH-TDA also was observed with an unidentified Gigaspora species but no morphological response was observed with Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith. The results indicate that 2-hydroxy fatty acids are another putative category of root exudate signals perceived by Gigaspora species, stimulating an increase in elongated lateral branches.

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