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Structure and specialization of mycorrhizal networks in phylogenetically diverse tropical communities

Abstract : Background: The root mycobiome plays a fundamental role in plant nutrition and protection against biotic and abiotic stresses. In temperate forests or meadows dominated by angiosperms, the numerous fungi involved in root symbioses are often shared between neighboring plants, thus forming complex plant-fungus interaction networks of weak specialization. Whether this weak specialization also holds in rich tropical communities with more phylogenetically diverse sets of plant lineages remains unknown. We collected roots of 30 plant species in semi-natural tropical communities including angiosperms, ferns, and lycophytes, in three different habitat types on La Réunion island: a recent lava flow, a wet thicket, and an ericoid shrubland. We identified root-inhabiting fungi by sequencing both the 18S rRNA and the ITS2 variable regions. We assessed the diversity of mycorrhizal fungal taxa according to plant species and lineages, as well as the structure and specialization of the resulting plant-fungus networks. Results: The 18S and ITS2 datasets are highly complementary at revealing the root mycobiota. According to 18S, Glomeromycotina colonize all plant groups in all habitats forming the least specialized interactions, resulting in nested network structures, while Mucoromycotina (Endogonales) are more abundant in the wetland and show higher specialization and modularity compared to the former. According to ITS2, mycorrhizal fungi of Ericaceae and Orchidaceae, namely Helotiales, Sebacinales, and Cantharellales, also colonize the roots of most plant lineages, confirming that they are frequent endophytes. While Helotiales and Sebacinales present intermediate levels of specialization, Cantharellales are more specialized and more sporadic in their interactions with plants, resulting in highly modular networks. Conclusions: This study of the root mycobiome in tropical environments reinforces the idea that mycorrhizal fungal taxa are locally shared between co-occurring plants, including phylogenetically distant plants (e.g. lycophytes and angiosperms), where they may form functional mycorrhizae or establish endophytic colonization. Yet, we demonstrate that, irrespectively of the environmental variations, the level of specialization significantly varies according to the fungal lineages, probably reflecting the different evolutionary origins of these plant-fungus symbioses. Frequent fungal sharing between plants questions the roles of the different fungi in community functioning and highlights the importance of considering networks of interactions rather than isolated hosts.
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Contributor : Benoît Perez-Lamarque Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 3:39:25 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 3:54:04 AM


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Benoît Perez-Lamarque, Rémi Petrolli, Christine Strullu-Derrien, Dominique Strasberg, Hélène Morlon, et al.. Structure and specialization of mycorrhizal networks in phylogenetically diverse tropical communities. Environmental Microbiome, BioMedCentral, 2022, 17, pp.38. ⟨10.1186/s40793-022-00434-0⟩. ⟨hal-03735689⟩



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