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Metabolite analysis of the effects of elevated CO2 and nitrogen fertilization on the association between tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) and its fungal symbiont Neotyphodium coenophialum.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Plant Cell & Environment
1365-3040
Publisher
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
1
Pages
204–212
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/pce.12146
PMID: 23742115
Source
Medline
Keywords
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Balance
  • Climate Change
  • Ergovaline
  • Fungal Endophyte
  • Lolines
  • Peramine
  • Plant-Fungal Mutualism
  • Rising Co2

Abstract

Atmospheric CO2 is expected to increase to between 550 ppm and 1000 ppm in the next century. CO2-induced changes in plant physiology can have ecosystem-wide implications and may alter plant-plant, plant-herbivore and plant-symbiont interactions. We examined the effects of three concentrations of CO2 (390, 800 and 1000 ppm) and two concentrations of nitrogen fertilizer (0.004 g N/week versus 0.2 g N/week) on the physiological response of Neotyphodium fungal endophyte-infected and uninfected tall fescue plants. We used quantitative PCR to estimate the concentration of endophyte under altered CO2 and N conditions. We found that elevated CO2 increased the concentration of water-soluble carbohydrates and decreased the concentration of plant total amino acids in plants. Fungal-derived alkaloids decreased in response to elevated CO2 and increased in response to nitrogen fertilization. Endophyte concentration (expressed as the number of copies of an endophyte-specific gene per total genomic DNA) increased under elevated CO2 and nitrogen fertilization. The correlation between endophyte concentration and alkaloid production observed at ambient conditions was not observed under elevated CO2. These results suggest that nutrient exchange dynamics important for maintaining the symbiotic relationship between fungal endophytes and their grass hosts may be altered by changes in environmental variables such as CO2 and nitrogen fertilization.

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