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Expanding the Biological Role of Lipo-Chitooligosaccharides and Chitooligosaccharides in Laccaria bicolor Growth and Developm...

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Frontiers in Fungal Biology
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The role of lipo-chitooligosaccharides (LCOs) as signaling molecules that mediate the establishment of symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants is being redefined. New evidence suggests that the production of these molecular signals may be more of a common trait in fungi than what was previously thought. LCOs affect different aspects of growth and development in fungi. For the ectomycorrhizal forming fungi, Laccaria bicolor, the production and effects of LCOs have always been studied with a symbiotic plant partner; however, there is still no scientific evidence describing the effects that these molecules have on this organism. Here, we explored the physiological, molecular, and metabolomic changes in L. bicolor when grown in the presence of exogenous sulfated and non-sulfated LCOs, as well as the chitooligomers, chitotetraose (CO4), and chitooctaose (CO8). Physiological data from 21 days post-induction showed reduced fungal growth in response to CO and LCO treatments compared to solvent controls. The underlying molecular changes were interrogated by proteomics, which revealed substantial alterations to biological processes related to growth and development. Moreover, metabolite data showed that LCOs and COs caused a downregulation of organic acids, sugars, and fatty acids. At the same time, exposure to LCOs resulted in the overproduction of lactic acid in L. bicolor. Altogether, these results suggest that these signals might be fungistatic compounds and contribute to current research efforts investigating the emerging impacts of these molecules on fungal growth and development.