Host-specific transcriptomic pattern of Trichoderma virens during interaction with maize or tomato roots. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Members of the fungal genus Trichoderma directly antagonize soil-borne fungal pathogens, and an increasing number of species are studied for their potential in biocontrol of plant pathogens in agriculture. Some species also colonize plant roots, promoting systemic resistance. The Trichoderma-root interaction is hosted by a wide range of plant species, including monocots and dicots. RESULTS: To test the hypothesis that gene expression by the fungal partner in this beneficial interaction is modulated by the plant, Trichoderma virens was co-cultured with maize or tomato in a hydroponic system allowing interaction with the roots. The transcriptomes for T. virens alone were compared with fungus-inoculated tomato or maize roots by hybridization on microarrays of 11645 unique oligonucleotides designed from the predicted protein-coding gene models. Transcript levels of 210 genes were modulated by interaction with roots. Almost all were up-regulated. Glycoside hydrolases and transporters were highly represented among transcripts induced by co-culture with roots. Of the genes up-regulated on either or both host plants, 35 differed significantly in their expression levels between maize and tomato. Ten of these were expressed higher in the fungus in co-culture with tomato roots than with maize. Average transcript levels for these genes ranged from 1.9 fold higher on tomato than on maize to 60.9 fold for the most tomato-specific gene. The other 25 host-specific transcripts were expressed more strongly in co-culture with maize than with tomato. Average transcript levels for these genes were 2.5 to 196 fold higher on maize than on tomato. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the relevant role of Trichoderma virens as a biological control agent this study provides a better knowledge of its crosstalk with plants in a host-specific manner. The differentially expressed genes encode proteins belonging to several functional classes including enzymes, transporters and small secreted proteins. Among them, glycoside hydrolases and transporters are highlighted by their abundance and suggest an important factor in the metabolism of host cell walls during colonization of the outer root layers. Host-specific gene expression may contribute to the ability of T. virens to colonize the roots of a wide range of plant species.

published proceedings

  • BMC Genomics

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Morn-Diez, M. E., Trushina, N., Lamdan, N. L., Rosenfelder, L., Mukherjee, P. K., Kenerley, C. M., & Horwitz, B. A.

citation count

  • 56

complete list of authors

  • MorĂ¡n-Diez, Maria E||Trushina, Naomi||Lamdan, Netta Li||Rosenfelder, Lea||Mukherjee, Prasun K||Kenerley, Charles M||Horwitz, Benjamin A

publication date

  • January 2015