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Origin and evolution of intracellular symbioses in plants

Project description

How intracellular symbioses evolved in non-vascular plants

Despite their crucial role in terrestrial ecosystems, the molecular mechanisms underlying the origin and subsequent evolution of intracellular symbioses in plants are poorly understood. The EU-funded ORIGINS project will use CRISPR/Cas9 in the bryophyte Marchantia paleacea to test symbiotic mechanisms in non-vascular plants, and then decipher how these mechanisms evolved by comparing land plants with their closest algal relatives. ORIGINS will also conduct transcriptomics coupled with genetic manipulations of the most known intracellular symbioses in plants. The aim is to understand how host intracellular microbial symbionts from the environment repeatedly evolved in land plants and the evolution of functional specificity in these different symbioses. Lastly, ORIGINS will investigate why intracellular symbioses evolution is constrained to a unique genetic pathway.

Objective

Mutualism between plants and microorganisms has been essential for the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems for millions of years. It has been proposed that even the colonization of lands by plants was facilitated by a mutualistic symbiosis formed with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. This symbiosis, by far the most widespread in land plants, results in the accommodation of the symbiotic fungus inside the plant cells. Following this initial symbiosis, multiple other intracellular symbioses have evolved in plants as diverse as orchids, Ericaceae such as cranberry, legumes or the Jungermanniales, a group of bryophytes. These symbioses provide numerous benefits, improving plant nutrient acquisition and fitness. Despite their absolute importance in terrestrial ecosystems, the molecular mechanisms underlying the origin and subsequent evolution of intracellular symbioses in plants remain poorly understood.
In a first objective, we will use CRISPR/Cas9 in the bryophyte Marchantia paleacea to test the conservation across land plants of symbiotic mechanisms known in angiosperms. Then, we will decipher how these mechanisms evolved by comparing land plants with their closest algal relatives. In a second objective, we will conduct transcriptomics coupled with genetic manipulations of most known intracellular symbioses in plants. This will allow determining how the ability to host intracellularly microbial symbionts recruited in the environment evolved repeatedly in land plants and how functional specificity evolved in these different symbioses. Lastly, we will investigate why the evolution of intracellular symbioses is constrained to a unique genetic pathway.
Through this project, combining phylogenomics, biochemistry, transcriptomics and genetic validations in six plant lineages covering more than 500 million years of evolution, we will provide a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of intracellular mutualistic symbioses in plants.

Host institution

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
Net EU contribution
€ 1 996 027,00
Address
RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
75794 Paris
France

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Region
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
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Total cost
€ 1 996 027,00

Beneficiaries (1)