Journal Article Comparison of green and albino individuals of the partially mycoheterotrophic orchid Epipactis helleborine on molecular identities of mycorrhizal fungi, nutritional modes and gene expression in mycorrhizal roots

Suetsugu, Kenji  ,  Yamato, Masahide  ,  Miura, Chihiro  ,  Yamaguchi, Katsushi  ,  Takahashi, Kazuya  ,  Ida, Yoshiko  ,  Shigenobu, Shuji  ,  Kaminaka, Hironori

26 ( 6 )  , pp.1652 - 1669 , 2017-03 , Wiley
Some green orchids obtain carbon from their mycorrhizal fungi, as well as from photosynthesis. These partially mycoheterotrophic orchids sometimes produce fully achlorophyllous, leaf-bearing (albino) variants. Comparing green and albino individuals of these orchids will help to uncover the molecular mechanisms associated with mycoheterotrophy. We compared green and albino Epipactis helleborine by molecular barcoding of mycorrhizal fungi, nutrient sources based on 15N and 13C abundances, and gene expression in their mycorrhizae by RNA-seq and cDNA de novo assembly. Molecular identification of mycorrhizal fungi showed that green and albino E. helleborine harbored similar mycobionts, mainly Wilcoxina. Stable isotope analyses indicated that albino E. helleborine plants were fully mycoheterotrophic, whereas green individuals were partially mycoheterotrophic. Gene expression analyses showed that genes involved in antioxidant metabolism were up-regulated in the albino variants, which indicates that these plants experience greater oxidative stress than the green variants, possibly due to a more frequent lysis of intracellular pelotons. It was also found that some genes involved in the transport of some metabolites, including carbon sources from plant to fungus, is higher in albino than in green variants. This result may indicate a bidirectional carbon flow even in the mycoheterotrophic symbiosis. The genes related to mycorrhizal symbiosis in autotrophic orchids and arbuscular mycorrhizal plants were also up-regulated in the albino variants, indicating the existence of common molecular mechanisms among the different mycorrhizal types.

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