, Volume 28, Issue 5–6, pp 523–534 | Cite as

Expression of putative circadian clock components in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizoglomus irregulare

  • Soon-Jae Lee
  • Mengxuan Kong
  • David Morse
  • Mohamed Hijri
Original Article


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligatory plant symbionts that live underground, so few studies have examined their response to light. Responses to blue light by other fungi can be mediated by White Collar-1 (WC-1) and WC-2 proteins. These wc genes, together with the frequency gene (frq), also form part of the endogenous circadian clock. The clock mechanism has never been studied in AMF, although circadian growth of their hyphae in the field has been reported. Using both genomic and transcriptomic data, we have found homologs of wc-1, wc-2, and frq and related circadian clock genes in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizoglomus irregulare (synonym Rhizophagus irregularis). Gene expression of wc-1, wc-2, and frq was analyzed using RT-qPCR on RNA extracted from germinating spores and from fungal material cultivated in vitro with transformed carrot roots. We found that all three core clock genes were expressed in both pre- and post-mycorrhizal stages of R. irregulare growth. Similar to the model fungus Neurospora crassa, the core circadian oscillator gene frq was induced by brief light stimulation. The presence of circadian clock and output genes in R. irregulare opens the door to the study of circadian clocks in the fungal partner of plant-AMF symbiosis. Our finding also provides new insight into the evolution of the circadian frq gene in fungi.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) Symbiosis Light sensing White Collar Circadian clock FRQ gene evolution 



This work was supported by an NSERC Discovery grant to MH which is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Miss Yerim Heo for assistance in designing and editing some figures. We also thank Dr. Dave Janos and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Supplementary material

572_2018_843_MOESM1_ESM.docx (682 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 681 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Recherche en Biologie VégétaleUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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