Submitted to: Phytochemical Society of North America Meeting and Newsletter
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 13, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Tall fescue plants symbiotic with the endophytic fungus, Neotyphodium coenophialum (E+), have better survivability and persistence under stressful conditions, especially under drought stress, than plants lacking the endophyte (E-). To understand more about the grass-endophyte interactions, how endophyte affects the host plant physiology and gene expression especially when the plants are subjected to water deficit stress conditions, we conducted a time course water deficit stress experiment using 3 clone pairs of tall fescue. Upon rewatering, survival and retillering was significantly greater for E+ than E- plants starting from day 2 or 3 of the treatment. We observed higher accumulation of the free sugars like glucose, fructose, trehalose, and amino acid proline in E+ plants at early days of onset of stress compared to E- plants. Loline alkaloids and mannitol, which are fungal metabolites, also increased with water deficit stress. Thus endophyte aids in survival and recovery of plants from drought, and may act in part by inducing rapid accumulation of these compatible solutes, soon after imposition of stress. Illumina mRNA sequencing of these E+ and E- clones shown 125 unigenes were differentially expressed two-fold or more between them. Sequencing of these E+ and E- stressed as well as watered controls tissues, is in progress to see any specific effects of endophyte on plant gene expression especially under water deficit stress.