Behr, M., et al. 2020. Mycorrhiza

Alterations in the phenylpropanoid pathway affect poplar ability for ectomycorrhizal colonisation and susceptibility to root-know nematodes

Marc Behr, Fabien Baldacci-Cresp, Annegret Kohler, Kris Morreel, Geert Goeminne, Rebecca Van Acker, Claire Veneault-Fourrey, Gilles Pilate, Wout Boerjan, Janice de Almeida Engler, Mondher El Jaziri and Marie Baucher
9 July 2020, Mycorrhiza 30, 555-566;


This study investigates the impact of the alteration of the monolignol biosynthesis pathway on the establishment of the in vitro interaction of poplar roots either with a mutualistic ectomycorrhizal fungus or with a pathogenic root-knot nematode.  Overall, the five studied transgenic lines downregulated for caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase (CCoAOMT), caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT), cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR), cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) or both COMT and CAD displayed a lower mycorrhizal colonisation percentage, indicating a lower ability for establishing mutualistic interaction than the wild-type.  The susceptibility to root-knot nematode infection was variable in the five lines, and the CAD-deficient line was found to be less susceptible than the wild-type.  We discuss these phenotypic differences in the light of the large shifts in the metabolic profile and gene expression pattern occurring between roots of the CAD-deficient line and wild-type.  A role of genes related to trehalose metabolism, phytohormones, and cell wall construction in the different mycorrhizal symbiosis efficiency and nematode sensitivity between these two lines is suggested.  Overall, these results show that the alteration of plant metabolism caused by the repression of a single gene within phenylpropanoid pathway results in significant alterations, at the root level, in the response towards mutualistic and pathogenic associates.  These changes may constrain plant fitness and biomass production, which are of economic importance for perennial industrial crops such as poplar.


Behr, M., Baldacci-Cresp, F., Kohler, A. et al. Alterations in the phenylpropanoid pathway affect poplar ability for ectomycorrhizal colonisation and susceptibility to root-knot nematodes. Mycorrhiza 30, 555–566 (2020).

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