Distinct Features Based on Partitioning of the Endophytic Fungi of Cereals and Other Grasses

Xiang Sun*, Or Sharon, Amir Sharon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endophytic fungi form a significant part of the plant mycobiome. Defining core members is crucial to understanding the assembly mechanism of fungal endophytic communities (FECs) and identifying functionally important community members. We conducted a meta-analysis of FECs in stems of wheat and five wild cereal species and generated a landscape of the fungal endophytic assemblages in this group of plants. The analysis revealed that several Ascomycota members and basidiomycetous yeasts formed an important compartment of the FECs in these plants. We observed a weak spatial autocorrelation at the regional scale and high intrahost variations in the FECs, suggesting a space-related heterogeneity. Accordingly, we propose that the heterogeneity among subcommunities should be a criterion to define the core endophytic members. Analysis of the subcommunities and meta-communities showed that the core and noncore members had distinct roles in various assembly processes, such as stochasticity, universal dynamics, and network characteristics, within each host. The distinct features identified between the community partitions of endophytes aid in understanding the principles that govern the assembly and function of natural communities. These findings can assist in designing synthetic microbiomes. IMPORTANCE This study proposes a novel method for diagnosing core microbiotas based on prevalence of community members in a meta-community, which could be determined and supported statistically. Using this approach, the study found stratification in community assembly processes within fungal endophyte communities (FECs) in the stems of wheat and cereal-related wild species. The core and noncore partitions of the FECs exhibited certain degrees of determinism from different aspects. Further analysis revealed abundant and consistent interactions between rare taxa, which might contribute to the determinism process in noncore partitions. Despite minor differences in FEC compositions, wheat FECs showed distinct patterns in community assembly processes compared to wild species, suggesting the effects of domestication on FECs. Overall, our study provided a new approach for identifying core microbiota and provides insights into the community assembly processes within FECs in wheat and related wild species.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2023


FundersFunder number
Chief Scientist Israel Ministry of Agriculture383/15
Incubation of Scientific and Technological Innovation of College and Middle School Students in Hebei Province22E50038D
Introducing Overseas Talents Funding Project of Hebei ProvinceC20220512
Hebei University521100221030


    • KEYWORDS community assembly
    • core microbiome
    • endophytic fungi
    • wheat
    • wild cereals


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