Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Karl-von-Frisch Strasse, 35043 Marburg, Germany
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form the most widespread symbiosis of the plant kingdom. More than 80% of vascular plants are susceptible to colonization by the zygomycetous fungi from the order Glomales, and profit significantly by the nutrient exchange between plant and fungus. However, knowledge of the biology of these fungi still remains elusive because of their obligate biotrophism and, up to now, unculturability. The molecular mechanisms underlying the presymbiotic stages and the cell-to-cell communication between AM fungi and other soil microorganisms are, particularly, unknown. Here, we study these aspects by means of a molecular approach to monitor changes in the gene expression of the fungus Glomus mosseae (BEG12) in response to the rhizobacterium Bacillus subtilis NR1. The bacterium was found to induce specific increases in mycelial growth as well as changes in expression of GmFOX2, a highly conserved gene encoding a multifunctional protein of the peroxisomal β-oxidation. We determined the gene structure and studied its expression in response to rhizobacteria at two time points. The results show that the fungus is able to change its gene expression in response to stimuli other than the plant.