Phylogenetic conservatism of mycoparasitism and its contribution to pathogen antagonism.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Closely related species are expected to have similar functional traits due to shared ancestry and phylogenetic inertia. However, few tests of this hypothesis are available for plant-associated fungal symbionts. Fungal leaf endophytes occur in all land plants and can protect their host plant from disease by a variety of mechanisms, including by parasitizing pathogens (e.g., mycoparasitism). Here, we tested whether phylogenetic relatedness among species of Cladosporium, a widespread genus that includes mycoparasitic species, predicts the effect of this endophyte on the severity of leaf rust disease. First, we used congruence among different marker sequences (i.e., genealogical concordance phylogenetic species recognition criterion) to delimit species of Cladosporium. Next, in a controlled experiment, we quantified both mycoparasitism and disease modification for the selected Cladosporium species. We identified 17 species of Cladosporium; all the species reduced rust disease severity in our experiment. Cladosporium phylogeny was a significant predictor of mycoparasitism. However, we did not observe a phylogenetic effect on disease severity overall, indicating that other mechanism/s operating independently of shared ancestry also contributed to endophyte effects on disease severity. Indeed, a second experiment showed that Cladosporium endophyte exudates (no live organism) from divergent species groups equally reduced disease severity. Our results reveal that multiple mechanisms contribute to the protective effects of an endophyte against a plant pathogen, but not all traits underlying these mechanisms are phylogenetically conserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Barge, EG; Leopold, DR; Rojas, A; Vilgalys, R; Busby, PE

Published Date

  • May 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 3018 - 3030

PubMed ID

  • 35313045

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-294X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-1083

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/mec.16436


  • eng