Metabolomics and transcriptomics to decipher molecular mechanisms underlying ectomycorrhizal root colonization of an oak tree

M. Sebastiana, A. Gargallo-Garriga, J. Sardans, M. Pérez-Trujillo, F. Monteiro, A. Figueiredo, M. Maia, R. Nascimento, M. Sousa Silva, A. N. Ferreira, C. Cordeiro, A. P. Marques, L. Sousa, R. Malhó, J. Peñuelas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Mycorrhizas are known to have a positive impact on plant growth and ability to resist major biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the metabolic alterations underlying mycorrhizal symbiosis are still understudied. By using metabolomics and transcriptomics approaches, cork oak roots colonized by the ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius were compared with non-colonized roots. Results show that compounds putatively corresponding to carbohydrates, organic acids, tannins, long-chain fatty acids and monoacylglycerols, were depleted in ectomycorrhizal cork oak colonized roots. Conversely, non-proteogenic amino acids, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and several putative defense-related compounds, including oxylipin-family compounds, terpenoids and B6 vitamers were induced in mycorrhizal roots. Transcriptomic analysis suggests the involvement of GABA in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis through increased synthesis and inhibition of degradation in mycorrhizal roots. Results from this global metabolomics analysis suggest decreases in root metabolites which are common components of exudates, and in compounds related to root external protective layers which could facilitate plant-fungal contact and enhance symbiosis. Root metabolic pathways involved in defense against stress were induced in ectomycorrhizal roots that could be involved in a plant mechanism to avoid uncontrolled growth of the fungal symbiont in the root apoplast. Several of the identified symbiosis-specific metabolites, such as GABA, may help to understand how ectomycorrhizal fungi such as P. tinctorius benefit their host plants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8576
    Number of pages1
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


    Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolomics and transcriptomics to decipher molecular mechanisms underlying ectomycorrhizal root colonization of an oak tree'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this