Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: intraspecific diversity and pangenomes

New Phytol. 2018 Dec;220(4):1129-1134. doi: 10.1111/nph.15275. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Contents Summary 1129 I. Introduction 1129 II. Intraspecific phenotypic variation and the plant host 1130 III. High inter-isolate genetic diversity in model AMF 1130 IV. Genome diversity within the model AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis 1131 V. Pangenomes and the future of AMF ecological genomics 1131 Acknowledgements 1133 References 1133 SUMMARY: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous plant symbionts with an intriguing population biology. Conspecific AMF strains can vary substantially at the genetic and phenotypic levels, leading to direct and quantifiable variation in plant growth. Recent studies have shown that high intraspecific diversity is very common in AMF, and not only found in model species. Studies have also revealed how the phenotype of conspecific isolates varies depending on the plant host, highlighting the functional relevance of intraspecific phenotypic plasticity for the AMF ecology and mycorrhizal symbiosis. Recent work has also demonstrated that conspecific isolates of the model AMF Rhizophagus irregularis harbor large and highly variable pangenomes, highlighting the potential role of intraspecific genome diversity for the ecological adaptation of these symbionts.

Keywords: Rhizophagus irregularis; arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF); intraspecific diversity; pangenomes; transposable elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Mycorrhizae / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Species Specificity