Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/2005
Publication Date: 7/30/2005
Citation: Kuldau, G.A., Bacon, C.W. 2005. Clavicipitaceous endophytes: their ability to enhance plant resistance to multiple stresses [abstract]. Phytopathology. 95(6):S5 Interpretive Summary: Abstract - no summary required.
Technical Abstract: The family of grasses originated as understory plants in forests, and from this origin the family developed key characteristics that allowed species to reach a climax association within open habitats, creating a diversity of species. This diversity is due in part to the symbiotic relationship with grazing animals, especially ruminants, the developments of the perennial habit, unique intercalary meristem, but a marked absence of stress reliving, deterring and toxic secondary metabolites. However, fungi are notorious for their production of numerous secondary compounds, which do served important functions some of which relate to biotic and abiotic stress resistance. Co-habitation of specific fungi with grasses developed into specific mutualistic associations. The fungi of concern belong to a relatively small grouping of species within the Clavicipitaceae, and include species of the tribe Balansieae. This group of fungi shares a common feature in being endophytically associated with grasses, sedges and rushes as obligate biotrophic parasites. The association of this group of fungi with grasses results in the accumulation of several classes of fungal metabolites that serve as resistant mechanisms, which are describes as defensive and physiologically and ecologically relevant to the association. These include drought, insect, nematode, and fungal disease resistances. The resulting resistances to multiple stresses, along with apparent inter- and intraspecific competition and ecological outcomes are described for these specific symbioses, along with the potential utilization of fungal endophytes for stress resistance via paratransgenesis and surrogate transformations.