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
Effective start/end date1/11/2131/10/23


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Mycorrhiza
  • Transcription factor

Flemish discipline codes

  • Mycology
  • Cell signaling
  • Genetics
  • Transcription and translation