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Plant Physiol. 1998 Apr;116(4):1279-88.

Intracellular pH in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. A symbiotic physiological marker


A method was developed to perform real-time analysis of cytosolic pH of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in culture using dye and ratiometric measurements (490/450 nm excitations). The study was mainly performed using photometric analysis, although some data were confirmed using image analysis. The use of nigericin allowed an in vivo calibration. Experimental parameters such as loading time and concentration of the dye were determined so that pH measurements could be made for a steady-state period on viable cells. A characteristic pH profile was observed along hyphae. For Gigaspora margarita, the pH of the tip (0-2 &mgr;m) was typically 6.7, increased sharply to 7.0 behind this region (9.5 &mgr;m), and decreased over the next 250 &mgr;m to a constant value of 6.6. A similar pattern was obtained for Glomus intraradices. The pH profile of G. margarita germ tubes was higher when cultured in the presence of carrot (Daucus carota) hairy roots (nonmycorrhizal). Similarly, extraradical hyphae of G. intraradices had a higher apical pH than the germ tubes. The use of a paper layer to prevent the mycorrhizal roots from being in direct contact with the medium selected hyphae with an even higher cytosolic pH. Results suggest that this method could be useful as a bioassay for studying signal perception and/or H+ cotransport of nutrients by arbuscular mycorrhizal hyphae.

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