Armaleo et al. Publish on Lichen Symbiosis
Daniele Armaleo and collaborators from nine countries have published the first parallel genomic analysis of the two main symbiotic partners in a lichen, the fungus and alga comprising Cladonia grayi. The article appears in BMC Genomics, Vol. 20 (see link). Their search for symbiosis-related genes opens to molecular analysis targets whose potential significance was previously unsuspected. To name a few: ribosomal DNA introns with likely roles in the lichen’s slow growth and stress resistance; a fungal sugar importer and an ammonium exporter likely involved in the symbiotic exchange of carbon and nitrogen; a uniquely expanded family of signal transduction proteins potentially necessary for inter-symbiont communication; and the genes which orchestrate sex in the alga, which was not thought to occur. The article is highlighted in a Duke research blog, "How Two Become One."
Congratulations to Daniele and to all who contributed to this monumental undertaking!