ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0521.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: plant–microbe interactions; endophytes; comparative transcriptomics; velvet genes
Online: 29 November 2022 (02:06:31 CET)
Epichloë species form bioprotective endophytic symbioses with many cool-season grasses, including agriculturally important forage grasses. Despite its importance, relatively little is known about the molecular details of the interaction and the regulatory genes involved. VelA is a key global regulator in fungal secondary metabolism and development. In previous studies, we showed the requirement of velA for E. festucae to form a mutualistic interaction with Lolium perenne. We showed that VelA regulates the expression of genes encoding proteins involved in membrane transport, fungal cell wall biosynthesis, host cell wall degradation and secondary metabolism, along with several small-secreted proteins in Epichloë festucae. Here, by a comparative transcriptomics analysis on perennial ryegrass seedlings and mature plants, which are endophyte free or infected with wild type (mutualistic interaction) or mutant ∆velA E. festucae (antagonistic or incompatible interaction), regulatory effects of the endophytic interaction on perennial ryegrass development was studied. We show that ∆velA mutant associations influence the expression of genes involved in primary metabolism, secondary metabolism and response to biotic and abiotic stresses compared to wild type associations, providing an insight into processes defining mutualistic versus antagonistic interactions.