1Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton 49931, U.S.A.; 2USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Delaware, OH 43015, U.S.A.
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Accepted 30 January 2001.
Ectomycorrhizae formed by the symbiotic interaction between ectomycorrhizal fungi and plant roots play a key role in maintaining and improving the health of a wide range of plants. Mycorrhizal initiation, development, and functional maintenance involve morphological changes that are mediated by activation and suppression of several fungal and plant genes. We identified a gene, Lbras, in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor that belongs to the ras family of genes, which has been shown in other systems to be associated with signaling pathways controlling cell growth and proliferation. The Lbras cDNA complemented ras2 function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and had the ability to transform mammalian cells. Expression of Lbras, present as a single copy in the genome, was dependent upon interaction with host roots. Northern analysis showed that expression was detectable in L. bicolor 48 h after interaction as well as in the established mycorrhizal tissue. Phylogenetic analysis with other Ras proteins showed that Lbras is related most closely to Aras of Aspergillus nidulans.
© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society