The phytohormones jasmonate, gibberellin, salicylate, and ethylene regulate an interconnected reprogramming network integrating root development with plant responses against microbes. The establishment of mutualistic ectomycorrhizal symbiosis requires the suppression of plant defense responses against fungi as well as the modification of root architecture and cortical cell wall properties. Here, we investigated the contribution of phytohormones and their crosstalk to the ontogenesis of ectomycorrhizae (ECM) between grey poplar (Populus tremula x alba) roots and the fungus Laccaria bicolor. To obtain the hormonal blueprint of developing ECM, we quantified the concentrations of jasmonates, gibberellins, and salicylate via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Subsequently, we assessed root architecture, mycorrhizal morphology, and gene expression levels (RNA sequencing) in phytohormone-treated poplar lateral roots in the presence or absence of L. bicolor. Salicylic acid accumulated in mid-stage ECM. Exogenous phytohormone treatment affected the fungal colonization rate and/or frequency of Hartig net formation. Colonized lateral roots displayed diminished responsiveness to jasmonate but regulated some genes, implicated in defense and cell wall remodelling, that were specifically differentially expressed after jasmonate treatment. Responses to salicylate, gibberellin, and ethylene were enhanced in ECM. The dynamics of phytohormone accumulation and response suggest that jasmonate, gibberellin, salicylate, and ethylene signalling play multifaceted roles in poplar L. bicolor ectomycorrhizal development.
Keywords: Laccaria bicolor; Populus tremula x alba; MiSSP; cell wall remodelling; crosstalk; defense; ectomycorrhizae; jasmonate; phytohormones; symbiosis.
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