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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

In vivo study of Trichoderma-pathogen-plant interactions with constitutive and inducible GFP reporter systems

Lu, Zexun; Tombolini, Riccardo; Woo, S; Zeilinger, S; Lorito, M; Jansson, Janet


Plant tissue colonization by Trichoderma atroviride plays a critical role in the reduction of diseases caused by phytopathogenic fungi, but this process has not been thoroughly studied in situ. We monitored in situ interactions between gfp-tagged biocontrol strains of T. atroviride and soilborne plant pathogens that were grown in cocultures and on cucumber seeds by confocal scanning laser microscopy and fluorescence stereomicroscopy. Spores of T. atroviride adhered to Pythium ultimum mycelia in coculture experiments. In mycoparasitic interactions of T. atroviride with P. ultimum or Rhizoctonia solani, the mycoparasitic hyphae grew alongside the pathogen mycelia, and this was followed by coiling and formation of specialized structures similar to hooks, appressoria, and papillae. The morphological changes observed depended on the pathogen tested. Branching of T. atroviride mycelium appeared to be an active response to the presence of the pathogenic host. Mycoparasitism of P. ultimum by T. atroviride occurred on cucumber seed surfaces while the seeds were germinating. The interaction of these fungi on the cucumber seeds was similar to the interaction observed in coculture experiments. Green fluorescent protein expression under the control of host-inducible promoters was also studied. The induction of specific Trichoderma genes was monitored visually in cocultures, on plant surfaces, and in soil in the presence of colloidal chitin or Rhizoctonia by confocal microscopy and fluorescence stereomicroscopy. These tools allowed initiation of the mycoparasitic gene expression cascade to be monitored in vivo

Published in

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
2004, Volume: 70, number: 5, pages: 3073-3081

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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