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Relationship between plant lipid bodies and fungal endophytes

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Lipid bodies are universal components of plant cells and provide a mobilized carbon source for essential biological processes. Plant oils harvested for food and fuel often reside in these lipid bodies. Plants also host diverse populations of endophytic fungi, which easily escape microscopic detection. This study reviews data from previous surveys of endophyte distribution in native plants to specifically examine the physical association between endophytic fungi and plant lipid bodies. Plant tissues stained with trypan blue and sudan IV prior to differential interference contrast microscopy revealed lipid bodies tightly associated with fungal hyphae and with trypan blue stained fungal networks. The abundance of endophyte-associated lipids in healthy plant tissues suggests endophyte involvement in carbon (oil) metabolism and transport. More research, particularly at the molecular level, is merited to assess the significance of this plant feature which is conserved in grasses and shrubs. Exploring the interfaces where plant cells and endophyte cells exchange organic carbon using modern imaging, molecular and genomic analysis could transform current understanding of plant carbon metabolism.
Pedro Osuna Avila , Jerry R. Barrow , Mary E. Lucero , Ronald E. Aaltonen
USDA Scientist Submission
ARS USDA Submissions 2012 v.30 no.1
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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