Functional diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizas extends to the expression of plant genes involved in P nutrition

Stephen H. Burleigh, Tim Cavagnaro, Iver Jakobsen

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170 Citations (Scopus)


This study of functional diversity considers symbiotic associations between two plant species, Medicago truncatula and Lycopersicon esculentum, and seven species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). The objective was to integrate physiological analyses with molecular techniques to test whether functional diversity between AMF species is not only apparent at the level of mycorrhiza formation, plant nutrient uptake and plant growth, but also at the molecular level as observed by variation in the root expression of plant genes involved in the plant's P-starvation response. The seven species of AMF varied widely in their influence on the root expression of MtPT2 and Mt4 from M. truncatula and LePT1 and TPSI1 from L. esculentum. At one extreme was Glomus mosseae, whereby its colonization of M. truncatula resulted in the greatest reduction in MtPT2 and Mt4 gene expression and the highest level of P uptake and growth, while at the other extreme was Gigaspora rosea, whereby colonization resulted in the highest levels of MtPT2 and Mt4 gene expression and the lowest P uptake and growth. The expression of LePT1 and TPSI1 within the roots of L. esculentum was low and relatively uniform across the seven mycorrhizas, reflecting the ability of this cultivar to maintain low and constant shoot P levels despite root colonization by a broad selection of AMF. This study extends current understanding of functional diversity and shows that plants can respond differently to AMF, not only at the level of colonization, nutrient uptake and growth, but also at the level of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1601
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number374
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Functional diversity
  • Gene expression


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