We performed a landscape-scale investigation to compare the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities between grasslands and farmlands in the farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China. AMF richness and community composition were examined with 454 pyrosequencing. Structural equation modelling (SEM) and multivariate analyses were applied to disentangle the direct and indirect effects (mediated by multiple environmental factors) of land use on AMF. Land use conversion from grassland to farmland significantly reduced AMF richness and extraradical hyphal length density, and these land use types also differed significantly in AMF community composition. SEM showed that the effects of land use on AMF richness and hyphal length density in soil were primarily mediated by available phosphorus and soil structural quality. Soil texture was the strongest predictor of AMF community composition. Soil carbon, nitrogen and soil pH were also significantly correlated with AMF community composition, indicating that these abiotic variables could be responsible for some of the community composition differences among sites. Our study shows that land use has a partly predictable effect on AMF communities across this ecologically relevant area of China, and indicates that high soil phosphorus concentrations and poor soil structure are particularly detrimental to AMF in this fragile ecosystem.
A pot experiment was conducted to investigate the feasibility of growing energy sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) in three different metal mine tailings (Cu, Sn and Pb/Zn tailings) amended with uncontaminated soil at different mixing ratios. The results indicated that sugarcane was highly tolerant to tailing environments. Amendments of 20% soil to Sn tailings and 30% soil to Cu tailings could increase the biomass of cane-stem for use as the raw material for bioethanol production. Heavy metals were mostly retained in roots, which indicated that sugarcane was useful for the stabilization of the tailings. Bagasse and juice, as the most valuable parts to produce bioethanol, only accounted for 0.6%-3% and 0.6%-7% of the total metal content. Our study supported the potential use of sugarcane for tailing phytostabilization and bioenergy production.
Elevated night temperature, one of the main climate warming scenarios, can have profound effects on plant growth and metabolism. However, little attention has been paid to the potential role of mycorrhizal associations in plant responses to night warming, although it is well known that symbiotic fungi can protect host plants against various environmental stresses. In the present study, physiological traits of Medicago truncatula L. in association with the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Rhizophagus irregularis were investigated under simulated night warming. A constant increase in night temperature of 1.53 °C significantly reduced plant shoot and root biomass, flower and seed number, leaf sugar concentration, and shoot Zn and root P concentrations. However, the AM association essentially mitigated these negative effects of night warming by improving plant growth, especially through increased root biomass, root to shoot ratio, and shoot Zn and root P concentrations. A significant interaction was observed between R. irregularis inoculation and night warming in influencing both root sucrose concentration and expression of sucrose synthase (SusS) genes, suggesting that AM symbiosis and increased night temperature jointly regulated plant sugar metabolism. Night warming stimulated AM fungal colonization but did not influence arbuscule abundance, symbiosis-related plant or fungal gene expression, or growth of extraradical mycelium, indicating little effect of night warming on the development or functioning of AM symbiosis. These findings highlight the importance of mycorrhizal symbiosis in assisting plant resilience to climate warming.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi function as extended roots and take an active part in plant acquisition of nutrients and also soil pollutants, such as heavy metals. The objective of this study was to establish a method to observe the localization of cadmium (Cd) K? at subcellular levels using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging with a synchrotron irradiation microbeam in resin-embedded sections of mycorrhizas. To evaluate the methodology, distributions of Cd in high-pressure-frozen Lotus japonicus-Rhizophagus irregularis mycorrhizal roots were compared between two treatments; Cd was exposed either to the roots or to the extraradical hyphae. Results showed that, in the latter treatment, Cd was restricted to fungal structures, whereas in the former, Cd was detected in cell walls of the two organisms. Plunge-frozen extraradical mycelium of Gigaspora margarita exposed to Cd showed high signals of Cd in the cell walls and vacuoles, and low in the cytoplasm. With selective staining and elemental mapping by electron-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS), a positive correlation between distributions of Cd and P was revealed in the vacuole, which suggested polyP as a counter ion of Cd. These results indicated that there was no Cd relocation in rapidly frozen resin-embedded materials, therefore supporting the usefulness of this methodology.
Both arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and root hairs play important roles in plant uptake of water and mineral nutrients. To reveal the relative importance of mycorrhiza and root hairs in plant water relations, a bald root barley (brb) mutant and its wild type (wt) were grown with or without inoculation of the AM fungus Rhizophagus intraradices under well-watered or drought conditions, and plant physiological traits relevant to drought stress resistance were recorded. The experimental results indicated that the AM fungus could almost compensate for the absence of root hairs under drought-stressed conditions. Moreover, phosphorus (P) concentration, leaf water potential, photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and water use efficiency were significantly increased by R. intraradices but not by root hairs, except for shoot P concentration and photosynthetic rate under the drought condition. Root hairs even significantly decreased root P concentration under drought stresses. These results confirm that AM fungi can enhance plant drought tolerance by improvement of P uptake and plant water relations, which subsequently promote plant photosynthetic performance and growth, while root hairs presumably contribute to the improvement of plant growth and photosynthetic capacity through an increase in shoot P concentration.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are ubiquitous symbionts of higher plants in terrestrial ecosystems, while the occurrence of the AM symbiosis is influenced by a complex set of abiotic and biotic factors. To reveal the regional distribution pattern of AM fungi as driven by multiple environmental factors, and to understand the ecological importance of AM fungi in natural ecosystems, we conducted a field investigation on AM fungal abundance along environmental gradients in the arid and semi-arid grasslands of northern China. In addition to plant parameters recorded in situ, soil samples were collected, and soil chemo-physical and biological parameters were measured in the lab. Statistical analyses were performed to reveal the relative contribution of climatic, edaphic and vegetation factors to AM fungal abundance, especially for extraradical hyphal length density (HLD) in the soil. The results indicated that HLD were positively correlated with mean annual temperature (MAT), soil clay content and soil pH, but negatively correlated with both soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil available N. The multiple regressions and structural equation model showed that MAT was the key positive contributor and soil fertility was the key negative contributor to HLD. Furthermore, both the intraradical AM colonization (IMC) and relative abundance of AM fungi, which was quantified by real-time PCR assay, tended to decrease along the increasing SOC content. With regard to the obvious negative correlation between MAT and SOC in the research area, the positive correlation between MAT and HLD implied that AM fungi could potentially mitigate soil carbon losses especially in infertile soils under global warming. However, direct evidence from long-term experiments is still expected to support the AM fungal contribution to soil carbon pools.
This study investigates arsenic (As) accumulation and tolerance of duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza L. and its potential for As phytofiltration. S. polyrhiza was able to survive in high concentration of As(V) solution. The EC50 values (+/- SE) based on the external As(V) were (181.66 +/- 20.12) micromol/L. It accumulated (999 +/- 95) mg As/kg dw when exposed in 320 micromol/L As(V) solution for one week, and was able to take up appropriately 400 mg As/kg dw in tissues without a significant biomass loss. The EC50 values (the effective concentration of As(V) in the nutrient solution that caused a 50% inhibition on biomass production) was (866 +/- 68) mg/kg dw for the tissues, indicating that S. polyrhiza had a high capability of As accumulation and tolerance. The uptake kinetic parameters Vmax was (55.33 +/- 2.24) nmol/(g dw min) and Km was (0.144 +/- 0.011) mmol/L. Within 72 hr, S. polyrhiza decreased As concentration in the solution from 190 to 113 ng/mL with a removal rate of 41%. The study suggested that this floating aquatic plant has some potential for As phytofiltration in contaminated water bodies or paddy soils.
Medulloblastoma is one of the common malignant brain tumors in children or young adults and its overall disease-free 5-year survival rate is approximately 50% due to tumor progression, invasion, and metastasis. This study aimed to determine whether one of Rho GTPases, Rac1 can affect the morphology, motility, and invasion of medulloblastoma cells through knockdown of Rac1 expression. Medulloblastoma Daoy cells were used to manipulate Rac1 expression using Rac1 shRNA, Rac1N17, and Rac1L61 constructs. Reverse transcriptase-PCR and western blot were used to detect expression of Rac1 mRNA and protein, respectively. Invasion and migration assays were performed to assess invasion and migration capacity of Daoy cells, respectively. The data showed that Rac1 mRNA and protein were overexpressed in Daoy cells. Deletion of Rac1 decreased the cross-linked actin network and pseudopodia and also inhibited the number of migration cells migrated or invaded to the other side of the filter compared to control cells. These data indicated that the invasion and migration in Daoy cells were inhibited by deletion of Rac1, and suggest that targeting Rac1 by Rac1 shRNA may further be evaluated and used as a potential anticancer strategy to treat medulloblastoma.
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