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Role of odour compounds in the attraction of gamete vectors in endophytic Epichloë fungi


Steinebrunner, F; Twele, R; Francke, W; Leuchtmann, A; Schiestl, F P (2008). Role of odour compounds in the attraction of gamete vectors in endophytic Epichloë fungi. The New Phytologist, 178(2):401-411.

Abstract

Grass-infecting Epichloë endophytes (Ascomycota, Calvicipitaceae) depend on Botanophila flies for gamete transfer, while fly larvae feed and develop on the fertilized fungal fruiting structures. Flies are known to be attracted by volatile signals, but the exact mechanisms of chemical communication and the degree of specialization are unknown. Headspace samples collected from five different Epichloë species were analysed with respect to physiologically active substances using Botanophila flies. In field bioassays using synthetic compounds, their attractiveness and the specificity of the Epichloë-Botanophila attraction were investigated. The identification of a new natural product, methyl (Z)-3-methyldodec-2-enoate, attracting Botanophila flies is reported here, and chokol K is confirmed as an attractive compound. Different blends of the two compounds attracted Botanophila flies under field conditions, but the three fly taxa present at the study site showed no preference for specific blends of volatiles. Chemical communication in the Epichloë-Botanophila system relies on a few specific compounds, known as a communication system with 'private channels'. Although ratios of emitted compounds vary in different Epichloë species, this seems not to lead to specialized attraction of Botanophila flies. Low selective pressure for specialization may have maintained a more generalist interaction between fungi and flies.

Abstract

Grass-infecting Epichloë endophytes (Ascomycota, Calvicipitaceae) depend on Botanophila flies for gamete transfer, while fly larvae feed and develop on the fertilized fungal fruiting structures. Flies are known to be attracted by volatile signals, but the exact mechanisms of chemical communication and the degree of specialization are unknown. Headspace samples collected from five different Epichloë species were analysed with respect to physiologically active substances using Botanophila flies. In field bioassays using synthetic compounds, their attractiveness and the specificity of the Epichloë-Botanophila attraction were investigated. The identification of a new natural product, methyl (Z)-3-methyldodec-2-enoate, attracting Botanophila flies is reported here, and chokol K is confirmed as an attractive compound. Different blends of the two compounds attracted Botanophila flies under field conditions, but the three fly taxa present at the study site showed no preference for specific blends of volatiles. Chemical communication in the Epichloë-Botanophila system relies on a few specific compounds, known as a communication system with 'private channels'. Although ratios of emitted compounds vary in different Epichloë species, this seems not to lead to specialized attraction of Botanophila flies. Low selective pressure for specialization may have maintained a more generalist interaction between fungi and flies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Systematic Botany and Botanical Gardens
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:endophyte, gamete vector, gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD), mass spectrometry, odour, pollination, scent
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:29 Jan 2009 19:19
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:55
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0028-646X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02347.x
PubMed ID:18194147

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