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Mutualistic interactions on a knife-edge between saprotrophy and pathogenesis

Abstract : Saprophytic, ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and pathogenic fungi play a key role in carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. Whereas more than 50 genomes of saprotrophic and pathogenic fungi have been published, only two genomes of ECM fungi, Laccaria bicolor and Tuber melanosporum, have been released. Comparative analysis of the genomes of biotrophic species highlighted convergent evolution. Mutualistic and pathogenic biotrophic fungi share expansion of genome size through transposon proliferation and common strategies to avoid plant detection. Differences mainly rely on nutritional strategies. Such analyses also pinpointed how blurred the molecular boundaries are between saprotrophism, symbiosis and pathogenesis. Sequencing of additional ECM species, as well as soil saprotrophic fungi, will facilitate the identification of conserved traits for ECM symbiosis and those leading to the transition from white-rotting and brown-rotting to the ECM lifestyle.
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Claire Veneault-Fourrey, Francis Martin. Mutualistic interactions on a knife-edge between saprotrophy and pathogenesis. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, Elsevier, 2011, 14 (4), pp.444 - 450. ⟨10.1016/j.pbi.2011.03.022⟩. ⟨hal-02653050⟩



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