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Article

Examining the Impacts of CO2 Concentration and Genetic Compatibility on Perennial Ryegrass—Epichloë festucae var lolii Interactions

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
2
Mass Spectrometry Facility—Advanced Analysis Centre, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
3
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.
Current address: Department of Biology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5, Canada.
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040360
Received: 9 October 2020 / Revised: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 7 December 2020 / Published: 11 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Biology in Fungal Research)
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the most cultivated cool-season grass worldwide with crucial roles in carbon fixation, turfgrass applications, and fodder for livestock. Lolium perenne forms a mutualism with the strictly vertically transmitted fungal endophyte, Epichloë festucae var lolii. The fungus produces alkaloids that protect the grass from herbivory, as well as conferring protection from drought and nutrient stress. The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2, a proximate cause of climatic change, is known to have many direct and indirect effects on plant growth. There is keen interest in how the nature of this plant–fungal interaction will change with climate change. Lolium perenne is an obligately outcrossing species, meaning that the genetic profile of the host is constantly being reshuffled. Meanwhile, the fungus is asexual implying both a relatively constant genetic profile and the potential for incompatible grass–fungus pairings. In this study, we used a single cultivar, “Alto”, of L. perenne. Each plant was infected with one of four strains of the endophyte: AR1, AR37, NEA2, and Lp19 (the “common strain”). We outcrossed the Alto mothers with pollen from a number of individuals from different ryegrass cultivars to create more genetic diversity in the hosts. We collected seed such that we had replicate maternal half-sib families. Seed from each family was randomly allocated into the two levels of the CO2 treatment, 400 and 800 ppm. Elevated CO2 resulted in an c. 18% increase in plant biomass. AR37 produced higher fungal concentrations than other strains; NEA2 produced the lowest fungal concentrations. We did not find evidence of genetic incompatibility between the host plants and the fungal strains. We conducted untargeted metabolomics and quantitative proteomics to investigate the grass-fungus interactions between and within family and treatment groups. We identified a number of changes in both the proteome and metabalome. Taken together, our data set provides new understanding into the intricacy of the interaction between endophyte and host from multiple molecular levels and suggests opportunity to promote plant robustness and survivability in rising CO2 environmental conditions through application of bioprotective epichloid strains. View Full-Text
Keywords: Epichloë festucae var. lolii; Lolium perenne L.; metabolomics; quantitative proteomics; plant defense response; climate change; genetic compatibility; mutualism Epichloë festucae var. lolii; Lolium perenne L.; metabolomics; quantitative proteomics; plant defense response; climate change; genetic compatibility; mutualism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Geddes-McAlister, J.; Sukumaran, A.; Patchett, A.; Hager, H.A.; Dale, J.C.M.; Roloson, J.L.; Prudhomme, N.; Bolton, K.; Muselius, B.; Powers, J.; Newman, J.A. Examining the Impacts of CO2 Concentration and Genetic Compatibility on Perennial Ryegrass—Epichloë festucae var lolii Interactions. J. Fungi 2020, 6, 360. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040360

AMA Style

Geddes-McAlister J, Sukumaran A, Patchett A, Hager HA, Dale JCM, Roloson JL, Prudhomme N, Bolton K, Muselius B, Powers J, Newman JA. Examining the Impacts of CO2 Concentration and Genetic Compatibility on Perennial Ryegrass—Epichloë festucae var lolii Interactions. Journal of Fungi. 2020; 6(4):360. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040360

Chicago/Turabian Style

Geddes-McAlister, Jennifer, Arjun Sukumaran, Aurora Patchett, Heather A. Hager, Jenna C.M. Dale, Jennifer L. Roloson, Nicholas Prudhomme, Kim Bolton, Benjamin Muselius, Jacqueline Powers, and Jonathan A. Newman. 2020. "Examining the Impacts of CO2 Concentration and Genetic Compatibility on Perennial Ryegrass—Epichloë festucae var lolii Interactions" Journal of Fungi 6, no. 4: 360. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040360

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