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Fungal Genet Biol. 2001 Jul;33(2):69-82.

Epichloë festucae and related mutualistic symbionts of grasses.

Author information

  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, S-305 Agricultural Sciences Building N, Lexington, KY 40546-0091, USA.

Erratum in

  • Fungal Genet Biol 2002 Feb;35(1):79.


Epichloë and Neotyphodium species (Ascomycota) are mutualistic symbionts (endophytes) of temperate grasses, to which they impart numerous and profound fitness benefits. Epichloë festucae, a common symbiont of Festuca, Lolium,and Koeleria spp., is a model for endophyte research that is amenable to Mendelian and molecular genetic analysis. Characteristics of E. festucae include: (i) production of the anti-insect alkaloids peramine and lolines, (ii) production of the anti-vertebrate alkaloids lolitrem B and ergovaline, (iii) efficient vertical transmission via host seeds, (iv) a mildly pathogenic state associated with the E. festucae sexual cycle, and (v) a clear role in enhancing survival of host plants. Genetic analysis of alkaloid production has recently begun. Also, physiological and ultrastructural studies suggest that signals communicated between E. festucae and host plants ensure an exquisitely balanced interaction to the mutual benefit of both partners. Several mutualistic Neotyphodium species are hybrids between E. festucae and other endophyte species.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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