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Laser Microdissection Reveals That Transcripts For Five Plant And One Fungal Phosphate Transporter Genes Are Contemporaneously Present In Arbusculated Cells

Raffaella Balestrini, Jorge Gómez-Ariza, Luisa Lanfranco, Paola Bonfante

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The establishment of a symbiotic interaction between plant roots and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi requires both partners to undergo significant morphological and physiological modifications which eventually lead to reciprocal beneficial effects. Extensive changes in gene expression profiles recently have been described in transcriptomic studies that have analyzed the whole mycorrhizal root. However, because root colonization by AM fungi involves different cell types, a cell-specific gene expression pattern is likely to occur. We have applied the laser microdissection (LMD) technology to investigate expression profiles of both plant and fungal genes in Lycopersicon esculentum roots colonized by Glomus mosseae. A protocol to harvest arbuscule-containing cells from paraffin sections of mycorrhizal roots has been developed using a Leica AS LMD system. RNA of satisfactory quantity and quality has been extracted for molecular analysis. Transcripts for plant phosphate transporters (LePTs), selected as molecular markers for a functional symbiosis, have been detected by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays and associated to distinct cell types, leading to novel insights into the distribution of LePT mRNAs. In fact, the transcripts of the five phosphate transporters (PTs) have been detected contemporaneously in the same arbusculated cell population, unlike from the neighboring noncolonized cells. In addition, fungal H+ATPase (GmHA5) and phosphate transporter (GmosPT) mRNAs were found exclusively in arbusculated cells. The discovery that five plant and one fungal PT genes are consistently expressed inside the arbusculated cells provides a new scenario for plant–fungus nutrient exchanges.