Significant host- and environment-dependent differentiation among highly sporadic fungal endophyte communities in cereal crops-related wild grasses

Xiang Sun, Evsey Kosman, Or Sharon, Smadar Ezrati, Amir Sharon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Endophytic fungi compose a significant part of plant microbiomes. However, while a small number of fungal taxa have proven beneficial impact, the vast majority of fungal endophytes remain uncharacterized, and the drivers of fungal endophyte community (FEC) assembly are not well understood. Here, we analysed FECs in three cereal crops-related wild grasses – Avena sterilis, Hordeum spontaneum and Aegilops peregrina – that grow in mixed populations in natural habitats. Taxa in Ascomycota class Dothideomycetes, particularly the genera Alternaria and Cladosporium, were the most abundant and prevalent across all populations, but there was also high incidence of basidiomyceteous yeasts of the class Tremellomycetes. The fungal community was shaped to large extent by stochastic processes, as indicated by high level of variation even between individuals from local populations of the same plant species, and confirmed by the neutral community model and Raup-Crick index. Nevertheless, we still found strong determinism in FEC assembly with both incidence and abundance data sets. Substantial differences in community composition across host species and locations were revealed. Our research demonstrated that assembly of FECs is affected by stochastic as well as deterministic processes and suggests strong effects of environment heterogeneity and plant species on community composition. In addition, a small number of taxa had high incidence and abundance in all of the 15 populations. These taxa represent an important part of the core FEC and might be of general functional importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3357-3374
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

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