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New Phytol. 2014 Feb;201(3):951-60. doi: 10.1111/nph.12603. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Potassium nutrition of ectomycorrhizal Pinus pinaster: overexpression of the Hebeloma cylindrosporum HcTrk1 transporter affects the translocation of both K(+) and phosphorus in the host plant.

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Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UMR 5004 CNRS/INRA/SupAgro/UM2, Campus INRA/SupAgro, 2 Place Viala, 34060, Montpellier Cedex 2, France.


Mycorrhizal associations are known to improve the hydro-mineral nutrition of their host plants. However, the importance of mycorrhizal symbiosis for plant potassium nutrition has so far been poorly studied. We therefore investigated the impact of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Hebeloma cylindrosporum on the potassium nutrition of Pinus pinaster and examined the involvement of the fungal potassium transporter HcTrk1. HcTrk1 transcripts and proteins were localized in ectomycorrhizas using in situ hybridization and EGFP translational fusion constructs. Importantly, an overexpression strategy was performed on a H. cylindrosporum endogenous gene in order to dissect the role of this transporter. The potassium nutrition of mycorrhizal pine plants was significantly improved under potassium-limiting conditions. Fungal strains overexpressing HcTrk1 reduced the translocation of potassium and phosphorus from the roots to the shoots of inoculated plants in mycorrhizal experiments. Furthermore, expression of HcTrk1 and the phosphate transporter HcPT1.1 were reciprocally linked to the external inorganic phosphate and potassium availability. The development of these approaches provides a deeper insight into the role of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis on host plant K(+) nutrition and in particular, the K(+) transporter HcTrk1. The work augments our knowledge of the link between potassium and phosphorus nutrition via the mycorrhizal pathway.


Hebeloma cylindrosporum; ectomycorrhizal symbiosis; in situ hybridization; overexpression; phosphate transporter HcPT1.1; plant potassium nutrition; potassium-sodium transporter HcTrk1; protein-EGFP fusion

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