Mycorrhizal features and fungal partners of four mycoheterotrophic Monotropoideae (Ericaceae) species from Yunnan, China

Abstract

We provide a preliminary report of the mycobionts found within four Monotropoideae (Ericaceae) species from China: Monotropa uniflora, Hypopitys monotropa, Monotropastrum humile and Monotropastrum sciaphilum (a rare endemic species never previously studied for mycorrhizae). Such achlorophyllous Monotropoideae plants obtain their carbohydrates from mycorrhizal fungi linking them to surrounding trees, on which these fungi form ectomycorrhizae. Since Monotropoideae were rarely studied in continental Asia, the root systems of the four species sampled in Yunnan were examined using morphological and molecular methods. All the roots of these four species exhibit a typical monotropoid mycorrhizal morphology, including a fungal mantle, a Hartig net and hyphal pegs. In M. uniflora and M. humile mycorrhizae, cystidia typical of Russula symbionts covered the fungal mantle. ITS barcoding revealed that Russulales were the most frequent colonizers in all species, but Hypopitys monotropa displayed various additional mycorrhizal taxa. Moreover, a few additional ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic Basidiomycota taxa were identified in the three other species, challenging that these four Monotropoideae species are as strictly fungal specific as the other Monotropoideae species hitherto studied. Moreover, a comparison with accompanying fungus sporocarps revealed that the fruiting fungal community significantly differed from that associated with the Monotropoideae roots, so that a clear fungal preference was evident. Finally, four fungal species were found on more than one Monotropoideae species: this contrasted with previous reports of sympatrically growing mycoheterotrophic plants, which did not reveal any overlap. This again challenges the idea of strict fungal specificity.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Wang Nian for his helpful working on essay writing, Wu Zhi-Kun for collection in the field, Walter Till and Heimo Rainer (Herbarium of Wien University), as well as Reinhard Agerer and Franck Richard for helpful discussions. We acknowledge David Richardson and two anonymous referees that made helpful and detailed corrections on earlier versions of this paper. This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Peoples’ Republic of China (No. 2009GB2F300343) as well as the Chinese plans of New Production of Yunnan (No. 2009BB001) and of Condition Platform Construction of Yunnan (No. 2010 DH011). M.-A. S. is supported by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the CNRS.

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Correspondence to Zhang Chang-Qin.

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Figure S1

The four MH plants investigated in this study. (a) Monotropa uniflora; (b) Hypopitys monotropa; (c) Monotropastrum humile; (d) M. sciaphilum (a, b and d are reproduced from Shen Min et al. 2011). (PDF 181 kb)

Figure S2

Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Strophariaceae family with taxa found in this study (in bold), based on ITS sequences and a Bayesian analysis. Values indicate Bayesian Posterior Probabilities. The tree was rooted by Deconica (Psilocybe) montana as a basal group in Strophariaceae (Bridge et al. 2008). (PDF 163 kb)

Figure S3

Phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Laccaria with taxa found in this study (in bold), based on ITS sequences and a Bayesian analysis. Values indicate Bayesian Posterior Probabilities. The tree was rooted by Laccaria glabripes, Hydnangium carneum and Porohydnangium australe following the hypothesis of basal origin of Australian lineages of this clade. (PDF 129 kb)

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Min, S., Chang-Qin, Z., Yong-Peng, M. et al. Mycorrhizal features and fungal partners of four mycoheterotrophic Monotropoideae (Ericaceae) species from Yunnan, China. Symbiosis 57, 1–13 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13199-012-0180-4

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Keywords

  • Hypopitys
  • Laccaria
  • Monotropa
  • Monotropastrum
  • Mycoheterorophy
  • Mycorrhizal specificity
  • Russulales