Specificity in the interaction between an epibiotic clavicipitalean fungus and its convolvulaceous host in a fungus/plant symbiotum

Plant Signal Behav. 2008 Sep;3(9):704-6. doi: 10.4161/psb.3.9.6432.


Ipomoea asarifolia and Turbina corymbosa (Convolvulaceae) are associated with epibiotic clavicipitalean fungi responsible for the presence of ergoline alkaloids in these plants. Experimentally generated plants devoid of these fungi were inoculated with different epibiotic and endophytic fungi resulting in a necrotic or commensal situation. A symbiotum of host plant and its respective fungus was best established by integration of the fungus into the morphological differentiation of the host plant. This led us to suppose that secretory glands on the leaf surface of the host plant may play an essential role in ergoline alkaloid biosynthesis which takes place in the epibiotic fungus.

Keywords: balansia; claviceps; clavicipitaceae; convolvulaceae; ergoline alkaloids; ipomoea; penicillium; plant-fungus symbiotum; turbina.