OZR Back-up mandate: Reactive oxygen species in ectomycorrhizal fungi: damage, signaling or both?

Project Details


Mutualistic associations between tree roots and fungi, ectomycorrhizas (ECMs), are ubiquitous. Through these associations, trees are able to colonize, establish and survive in a wide range of soils. Underground hyphal networks regulate nutrient access and limit translocation of pollutants. Proper functioning implies the ability to connect with host plants and respond to adverse conditions. Both, plant immune response and adverse conditions result in the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These damaging compounds may however, induce redox-sensitive transcription factors (TFs) and mediate adaptive responses. The aim of the current project is to explore the diverse roles of ROS as regulatory signaling molecules in ECM fungi. I’ll study dynamics of ROS metabolism, including ROS detection and expression/activity of ROS decomposing and producing enzymes. Potential redox-sensitive TFs will be inventoried and analyzed in silico. A selected candidate will be functionally characterized. I’ll visualize nuclear accumulation in response to ROS and environmental change by microscopy, determine DNA binding motif by ChIPseq and elucidate target genes and pathways by RNAseq using mutants. The results of this study, will contribute knowledge on the regulation of environmental responses, i.e. to a host tree and adverse conditions, and the role of ROS in this process. This will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the pervasive power of ECM fungi in terrestrial ecosystems.
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/21


  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Mycorrhiza
  • Transciption factor

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Genetics
  • Cell signalling
  • Mycology
  • Transcription and translation


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