Response of Neotyphodium in Culture to Plant Hormones and Physical Damage
Dr. Thomas Bultman
Neotyphodium coenophialum is a fungal symbiont of Lolium arundinaceum (tall fescue) that is thought to increase the herbivore resistance of grasses it infects by producing defensive chemicals such as alkaloids. The production of alkaloids such as lolines by the fungus is an inducible response to herbivore damage, but it is not understood how the fungus “knows” when the plant is being damaged. In an effort to discover whether the fungus is responding to plant hormones or damage to its own hyphae, I cultured N. coenophialum in vitro and exposed it to physical damage to its hyphae or to an application of salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, 3-indoleacetic acid, gibberellic acid, or water. I collected samples from these cultures before the treatments, 1, 3 and 10 days after treatments. I analyzed the amount of mRNA from the lolC1 gene (for lolines) in these samples using RT-PCR. I found that the lolC1 gene is not expressed in culture. Thus, I plan to explore the other 7 genes involved in loline biosynthesis to see if any of them are expressed in culture.
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