Nuclei of symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi as revealed by in vivo two-photon microscopy

Protoplasma. 1999;209(1-2):77-89. doi: 10.1007/BF01415703.


The present work reports the results obtained from in vivo studies on the distribution and behavior of nuclei of two arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi growing in symbiosis with tomato root organ cultures (AM monoxenic cultures). Upon staining with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole and two-photon microscopy (2PM) observations, symbiotic thick runner hyphae appeared mostly opaque to 2PM and did not reveal nuclei within them; thin runner hyphae showed dimly stained nuclei along them, whereas nuclei were clearly visible within the branches of the so-called branched absorbing structures. When visible, nuclei appeared anchored laterally at regular intervals along the symbiotic AM extraradical hyphae. Other nuclei migrate through the hyphal central core; this migration occurs in pulses. Simultaneous observations on different areas of extraradical AM mycelium revealed the existence of lysed compartments along the fungal hyphae, containing nuclei remnants and/or chromatin masses. All these results give new insights in (i) the differential permeability of AM hyphae in the symbiotic versus the asymbiotic state; (ii) the behavior and distribution of nuclei along the symbiotic extraradical mycelium; (iii) the occurrence of ageing events within the AM fungal colony; and (iv) the existence of "healing" mechanisms aiming to restrict the damage induced by such ageing or lytic events. An AM fungal strategy for hyphal survival under adverse conditions is also suggested.