Up-regulation of genes involved in N-acetylglucosamine uptake and metabolism suggests a recycling mode of chitin in intraradical mycelium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

PMID 25564438


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi colonize roots and form two kinds of mycelium, intraradical mycelium (IRM) and extraradical mycelium (ERM). Arbuscules are characteristic IRM structures that highly branch within host cells in order to mediate resource exchange between the symbionts. They are ephemeral structures and at the end of their life span, arbuscular branches collapse from the tip, fungal cytoplasm withdraws, and the whole arbuscule shrinks into fungal clumps. The exoskeleton of an arbuscule contains structured chitin, which is a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), whereas a collapsed arbuscule does not. The molecular mechanisms underlying the turnover of chitin in AM fungi remain unknown. Here, a GlcNAc transporter, RiNGT, was identified from the AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis. Yeast mutants defective in endogenous GlcNAc uptake and expressing RiNGT took up (14)C-GlcNAc, and the optimum uptake was at acidic pH values (pH 4.0-4.5). The transcript levels of RiNGT in IRM in mycorrhizal Lotus japonicus roots were over 1000 times higher than those in ERM. GlcNAc-6-phosphate deacetylase (DAC1) and glucosamine-6-phosphate isomerase (NAG1) genes, which are related to the GlcNAc catabolism pathway, were also induced in IRM. Altogether, data suggest the existence of an enhanced recycling mode of GlcNAc in IRM of AM fungi.