Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Convergent losses of decay mechanisms and rapid turnover of symbiosis genes in mycorrhizal mutualists

Kohler, Annegret; Kuo, Alan; Nagy, Laszlo G.; Morin, Emmanuelle; Barry, Kerrie W.; Buscot, Francois; Canback, Bjorn; Choi, Cindy; Cichocki, Nicolas; Clum, Alicia; Colpaert, Jan; Copeland, Alex; Costa, Mauricio D.; Dore, Jeanne; Floudas, Dimitrios; Gay, Gilles; Girlanda, Mariangela; Henrissat, Bernard; Herrmann, Sylvie; Hess, Jaqueline;
Show more authors


To elucidate the genetic bases of mycorrhizal lifestyle evolution, we sequenced new fungal genomes, including 13 ectomycorrhizal (ECM), orchid (ORM) and ericoid (ERM) species, and five saprotrophs, which we analyzed along with other fungal genomes. Ectomycorrhizal fungi have a reduced complement of genes encoding plant cell wall-degrading enzymes (PCWDEs), as compared to their ancestral wood decayers. Nevertheless, they have retained a unique array of PCWDEs, thus suggesting that they possess diverse abilities to decompose lignocellulose. Similar functional categories of nonorthologous genes are induced in symbiosis. Of induced genes, 7-38% are orphan genes, including genes that encode secreted effector-like proteins. Convergent evolution of the mycorrhizal habit in fungi occurred via the repeated evolution of a 'symbiosis toolkit', with reduced numbers of PCWDEs and lineage-specific suites of mycorrhiza-induced genes.

Published in

Nature Genetics
2015, Volume: 47, number: 4, pages: 410-415