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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018


Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions - LIPM

Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions

Research themes - Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis Efficacy

The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis : Most plants including cereals form an endosymbiosis with AM fungi belonging to the group of Glomeromycota. AM fungi are beneficial for plant nutrition because of their ability to colonize both soil and roots and gather nutrients from a much larger soil volume than plant roots. AM fungi penetrate root cortical cells and exchange nutrients through structures called arbuscules. AM fungi provide soil nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients) to plants and benefit from fixed carbon (photosynthates) from the plants through carbohydrate and lipid transfers. AM fungi can also protect plants from biotic and abiotic stresses. This interaction is described as a mutualistic symbiosis, however AM efficacy on plant growth and/or plant resistance to stresses depends on both plant and AM fungal genotypes. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms which influence the plant colonization by AM fungi and mycorrhizal responses.

tomato root

A tomato root colonized by a strain of the AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis. The fungus is stained by ink (blue). Arrows show arbuscules. Arrowheads show extraradical hyphae.

Objective 1: To evaluate effects of agricultural practices on AM fungal diversity and efficacy to stimulate plant growth. To address this objective, we perform sampling of wheat (durum and bread wheat) grown under various agricultural practices and analyze the fungal communities associated with roots using high throughput DNA sequencing (metabacroding). We also isolate AM fungal strains associated with wheat roots and test their efficacy to stimulate wheat growth in controlled conditions.

Objective 2: To identify molecular mechanisms involved in variability of plant benefit from AM fungi. To address this objective, we are investigating the genetic variability of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon and of wheat. This includes analysis of plant growth and transcriptional responses to AM fungi in various controlled environments, in particular with different nutrient availability.

For these two objectives, we use the Toulouse plant phenotyping platform to measure plant growth kinetics in the presence and the absence of AM fungi.

plant toulouse phenotyping platform

Analysis of growth response in the presence of an AM fungal strain in various B. distachyon ecotypes.

Symbiotic signals : Lipo-chitooligosaccharidic (LCO) and short chitooligosaccharidic (CO) produced by AM fungi are able to activate a host signalling pathway required for host colonization by AM fungi and are thus likely involved in mechanisms of host colonization.

Objective 3: To determine the role of signal molecules produced by AM fungi in the establishment of the symbiosis. To address this objective, we are characterizing plant LCO and CO receptors belonging to the subfamily of Receptor-Like Kinases (RLKs) containing LysM domains through a combination of reverse genetic and biochemical approaches.

Plant models: Solanaceae (Nicotiana benthamiana, Petunia hybrida and Solanum lycopersicum) and Poaceae (Brachypodium distachyon, Triticum turgidum and Triticum aestivum).

Current funding

  • Project MYCOBLE (FSOV, 2021-2023), coordinator: B. Lefebvre
  • Project WHEATSYM (ANR, 2017-2021), coordinator: B. Lefebvre

Past funding

  • Projet Stress'n'Sym (Institut Carnot Plant2Pro, 2017-2020), coordinator: B. Lefebvre
  • Project DIBAM (SPE INRA, 2018-2019), coordinator: B. Lefebvre
  • Projet RHIZOWHEAT (IDEX ATS, 2016-2017), coordinator: C. Masson (LIPM)
  • Projet SPE (INRA, 2014-2015), coordinator: J. Cullimore (LIPM)
  • Projet LCOinNONLEGUMES (ANR young scientist, 2011-2014), coordinator: B. Lefebvre
  • PICS (CNRS, 2011-2012), coordinator: B. Lefebvre