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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Fungal cross-talk: an integrated approach to study distance communication

Zapparata, Antonio; Baroncelli, Riccardo; Durling, Mikael Brandstrom; Kubicek, Christian P.; Karlsson, Magnus; Vannacci, Giovanni; Sarrocco, Sabrina


Despite the interest on fungi as eukaryotic model systems, the molecular mechanisms regulating the fungal nonself-recognition at a distance have not been studied so far. This paper investigates the molecular mechanisms regulating the cross-talk at a distance between two filamentous fungi, Trichoderma gamsii and Fusarium graminearum which establish a mycoparasitic interaction where T. gamsii and F. graminearum play the roles of mycoparasite and prey, respectively. In the present work, we use an integrated approach involving dual culture tests, comparative genomics and transcriptomics to investigate the fungal interaction before contact ('sensing phase').Dual culture tests demonstrate that growth rate of F. graminearum accelerates in presence of T. gamsii at the sensing phase. T. gamsii up-regulates the expression of a ferric reductase involved in iron acquisition, while F. graminearum up-regulates the expression of genes coding for transmembrane transporters and killer toxins. At the same time, T. gamsii decreases the level of extracellular interaction by down-regulating genes coding for hydrolytic enzymes acting on fungal cell wall (chitinases).Given the importance of fungi as eukaryotic model systems and the ever-increasing genomic resources available, the integrated approach hereby presented can be applied to other interactions to deepen the knowledge on fungal communication at a distance.


Fungal communication; Transcriptomics; Trichoderma; Fusarium; Chitinases; Killer toxins

Published in

Fungal Genetics and Biology
2021, Volume: 148, article number: 103518