Lichen-forming fungi establish stable symbioses with green algae or cyanobacteria. Many species have broad distributions, both in geographic and ecological space, making them ideal subjects to study organism-environment interactions. However, little is known about the specific mechanisms that contribute to environmental adaptation in lichen-forming fungi. The circadian clock provides a well-described mechanism that contributes to regional adaptation across a variety of species, including fungi. Here, we identify the putative circadian clock components in phylogenetically divergent lichen-forming fungi. The core circadian genes (frq, wc-1, wc-2, frh) are present across the Fungi, including 31 lichen-forming species, and their evolutionary trajectories mirror overall fungal evolution. Comparative analyses of the clock genes indicate conserved domain architecture among lichen- and non-lichen-forming taxa. We used RT-qPCR to examine the core circadian loop of two unrelated lichen-forming fungi, Umbilicaria pustulata (Lecanoromycetes) and Dermatocarpon miniatum (Eurotiomycetes), to determine that the putative frq gene is activated in a light-dependent manner similar to the model fungus Neurospora crassa. Together, these results demonstrate that lichen-forming fungi retain functional light-responsive mechanisms, including a functioning circadian clock. Our findings provide a stepping stone into investigating the circadian clock in the lichen symbiosis, e.g. its role in adaptation, and in synchronizing the symbiotic interaction.

Identification and expression of functionally conserved circadian clock genes in lichen-forming fungi

Dal Grande, Francesco
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Singh, Garima;
2022

Abstract

Lichen-forming fungi establish stable symbioses with green algae or cyanobacteria. Many species have broad distributions, both in geographic and ecological space, making them ideal subjects to study organism-environment interactions. However, little is known about the specific mechanisms that contribute to environmental adaptation in lichen-forming fungi. The circadian clock provides a well-described mechanism that contributes to regional adaptation across a variety of species, including fungi. Here, we identify the putative circadian clock components in phylogenetically divergent lichen-forming fungi. The core circadian genes (frq, wc-1, wc-2, frh) are present across the Fungi, including 31 lichen-forming species, and their evolutionary trajectories mirror overall fungal evolution. Comparative analyses of the clock genes indicate conserved domain architecture among lichen- and non-lichen-forming taxa. We used RT-qPCR to examine the core circadian loop of two unrelated lichen-forming fungi, Umbilicaria pustulata (Lecanoromycetes) and Dermatocarpon miniatum (Eurotiomycetes), to determine that the putative frq gene is activated in a light-dependent manner similar to the model fungus Neurospora crassa. Together, these results demonstrate that lichen-forming fungi retain functional light-responsive mechanisms, including a functioning circadian clock. Our findings provide a stepping stone into investigating the circadian clock in the lichen symbiosis, e.g. its role in adaptation, and in synchronizing the symbiotic interaction.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3506256
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