Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi heterokaryons have two nuclear populations with distinct roles in host–plant interactions

Jana Sperschneider, Gokalp Yildirir, Yanina S. Rizzi, Mathu Malar C, Ariane Mayrand Nicol, Essam Sorwar, Matthew Villeneuve-Laroche, Eric C.H. Chen, Wataru Iwasaki, Elizabeth K. Brauer, Whynn Bosnich, Caroline Gutjahr, Nicolas Corradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are prominent root symbionts that can carry thousands of nuclei deriving from two parental strains in a large syncytium. These co-existing genomes can also vary in abundance with changing environmental conditions. Here we assemble the nuclear genomes of all four publicly available AMF heterokaryons using PacBio high-fidelity and Hi-C sequencing. We find that the two co-existing genomes of these strains are phylogenetically related but differ in structure, content and epigenetics. We confirm that AMF heterokaryon genomes vary in relative abundance across conditions and show this can lead to nucleus-specific differences in expression during interactions with plants. Population analyses also reveal signatures of genetic exchange indicative of past events of sexual reproduction in these strains. This work uncovers the origin and contribution of two nuclear genomes in AMF heterokaryons and opens avenues for the improvement and environmental application of these strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2142-2153
Number of pages12
JournalNature Microbiology
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

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