The host plant Pinus pinaster exerts specific effects on phosphate efflux and polyphosphate metabolism of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Hebeloma cylindrosporum: a radiotracer, cytological staining and 31 P NMR spectroscopy study

Plant Cell Environ. 2017 Feb;40(2):190-202. doi: 10.1111/pce.12847. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) association can improve plant phosphorus (P) nutrition. Polyphosphates (polyP) synthesized in distant fungal cells after P uptake may contribute to P supply from the fungus to the host plant if they are hydrolyzed to phosphate in ECM roots then transferred to the host plant when required. In this study, we addressed this hypothesis for the ECM fungus Hebeloma cylindrosporum grown in vitro and incubated without plant or with host (Pinus pinaster) and non-host (Zea mays) plants, using an experimental system simulating the symbiotic interface. We used 32 P labelling to quantify P accumulation and P efflux and in vivo and in vitro nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and cytological staining to follow the fate of fungal polyP. Phosphate supply triggered a massive P accumulation as newly synthesized long-chain polyP in H. cylindrosporum if previously grown under P-deficient conditions. P efflux from H. cylindrosporum towards the roots was stimulated by both host and non-host plants. However, the host plant enhanced 32 P release compared with the non-host plant and specifically increased the proportion of short-chain polyP in the interacting mycelia. These results support the existence of specific host plant effects on fungal P metabolism able to provide P in the apoplast of ectomycorrhizal roots.

Keywords: 32P labelling; Hebeloma cylindrosporum; Pinus pinaster; Zea mays; fungal P efflux; in vivo 31P NMR spectroscopy; polyphosphates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hebeloma / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Hyphae / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology*
  • Phosphorus / metabolism*
  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes / metabolism*
  • Pinus / metabolism
  • Pinus / microbiology*
  • Polyphosphates / metabolism*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes
  • Polyphosphates
  • Phosphorus