Bacterial endosymbionts protect beneficial soil fungus from nematode attack.

Büttner H*, Niehs SP*, Vandelannoote K, Cseresnyés Z, Dose B, Richter I, Gerst R, Figge MT, Stinear TP, Pidot SJ, Hertweck C# (2021) Bacterial endosymbionts protect beneficial soil fungus from nematode attack. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 118(37), e2110669118.

*equal contribution #corresponding author

Abstract

Soil is a complex and competitive environment, forcing its inhabitants to develop strategies against competitors, predators, and pathogens. Identifying and understanding the molecular mechanisms has translational value for medicine, ecology, and agriculture. In this study, we show that a member of important soil-dwelling fungi (Mortierella) forms a tight alliance with toxin-producing bacteria (Mycoavidus) that live within the fungal hyphae and protect their host from nematode attack. This discovery is relevant since Mortierella species correlate with healthy soils and are used as plant growth–promoting fungi in agriculture. Unraveling an ecological role for fungal endosymbionts in Mortierella, our results contribute to the understanding of a mainspring in fungal–endobacterial symbioses and open the possibility for the development of new biocontrol agents.

Leibniz-HKI-Authors

Christian Hertweck
Marc Thilo Figge
Zoltán Cseresnyés
Benjamin Dose
Sarah Niehs
Hannah Büttner
Ingrid Richter
Ruman Gerst

Identifier

doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110669118

PMID: 34504005