, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 391–397 | Cite as

N-Acetylglucosaminidase activity, a functional trait of chitin degradation, is regulated differentially within two orders of ectomycorrhizal fungi: Boletales and Agaricales

  • François Maillard
  • Margaux Didion
  • Laure Fauchery
  • Cyrille Bach
  • Marc BuéeEmail author
Short Note


Chitin is one of the most abundant nitrogen-containing polymers in forest soil. Ability of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi to utilize chitin may play a key role in the EM symbiosis nutrition and soil carbon cycle. In forest, EM fungi exhibit high diversity, which could be based on function partitioning and trait complementarity. Although it has long been recognized that closely related species share functional characteristics, the phylogenetic conservatism of functional traits within microorganisms remains unclear. Because extracellular N-acetylglucosaminidase activity has been proposed as functional trait of chitin degradation, we screened this activity on 35 EM fungi species with or without chitin in the growth medium to (i) describe the functional diversity of EM fungi and (ii) identify potential links between this functional trait and EM fungal phylogeny. We observed large variations of the extracellular N-acetylglucosaminidase activities among the fungal strains. Furthermore, our results revealed two regulation patterns of extracellular N-acetylglucosaminidase activities. Indeed, these chitinolytic activities were stimulated or repressed in the presence of chitin, in comparison to the control treatment. These profiles of extracellular N-acetylglucosaminidase stimulation/repression might be conserved at a high phylogenetic level in the Basidiomycota phylum, as illustrated by the opposite patterns of regulation between Boletales and Agaricales. Finally, the downregulation of this activity by chitin, for some EM fungal groups, might suggest another chitin degradation pathway.


Chitin degradation Chitinase N-Acetylglucosaminidase Functional trait Fungal phylogeny 



FM holds a PhD fellowship awarded by the Région Lorraine and the Laboratory of excellence ARBRE (BRIDGE project). We would like to thank Anais Gillet for the maintenance of the fungal strains collection.

Funding information

This work was supported by a grant overseen by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the “Investissements d’Avenir” program (ANR-11-LABX-0002-01, Lab of Excellence ARBRE).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Supplementary material

572_2018_833_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Table S.1 Ectomycorrhizal fungi used in the present study. (XLSX 12 kb)
572_2018_833_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (17 kb)
Table S.2 Extracellular N-acetylglucosaminidase activity ( of ectomycorrhizal fungi with and without chitin in the growth medium in function of growth time (Values are means (± SE; n = 3)). (XLSX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Lorraine, Inra, IAMNancyFrance

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