Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2008Peer reviewed

Comparative analysis of transcript abundance in Pinus sylvestris after challenge with a saprotrophic, pathogenic or mutualistic fungus

Adomas, Aleksandra; Heller, Gregory; Olson, Ake; Osborne, Jason; Karlsson, Magnus; Nahalkova, Jarmila; Van Zyl, Len; Sederoff, Ron; Stenlid, Jan; Finlay, Roger; Asiegbu, Frederick O.


To investigate functional differences in the recognition and response mechanisms of conifer roots to fungi with different trophic strategies, Pinus sylvestris L. was challenged with a saprotrophic fungus Trichoderma aureoviride Rifai. The results were compared with separate studies investigating pine interactions with a pathogen, Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. sensu stricto and an ectomycorrhizal symbiont, Laccaria bicolor Maire (Orton). Global changes in the expression of 2109 conifer genes were assayed 1, 5 and 15 days after inoculation. Gene expression data from a cDNA microarray were analyzed by the 2-interconnected mixed linear model statistical approach. The total number of genes differentially expressed compared with the uninfected control was similar after challenge with the pathogen and the ectomycorrhizal symbiont, but the number of differentially expressed genes increased over time, for H. annosum, and decreased for L. bicolor. Inoculation of pine roots with T aureoviride resulted overall in a much lower number of genes with changed transcript levels compared with inoculation with H. annosum or L. bicolor. Functional classification of the differentially expressed genes revealed that the ectomycorrhizal fungus triggered transient induction of defence-related genes. The response and induction of defence against the pathogen was delayed and the magnitude increased over time. Thus, there were specific transcriptional responses depending on whether the conifer roots were challenged with mutualistic, saprotrophic or pathogenic fungi. This suggests that pine trees are able to recognize diverse fungal species and specifically distinguish whether they are pathogenic, neutral or beneficial microbial agents.


defence; ectomycorrhiza; Heterobasidion annostan; Laccaria bicolor; microarray; recognition; Trichoderma aureoviride

Published in

Tree Physiology
2008, Volume: 28, number: 6, pages: 885-897