FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2021 Mar 13:fnab032. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnab032. Online ahead of print.
Several fungi have been shown to harbor microorganisms that regulate the key components of fungal metabolism. We explored the symbiotic association of an endophyte, Aspergillus terreus which led to the isolation of a yeast, Meyerozyma caribbica as its symbiont. An axenic fungal culture, free of the symbiont, was developed to study the effect of this association on the endophytic fungus. The symbiotic yeast partner was found to play an important role in the adaptation of A. terreus to thermal as well as osmotic stress. Under these stress conditions, the symbiont enhanced the production of lovastatin and the growth of the host fungus. The symbiotic yeast was found to induce the expression of the global regulator gene, the key genes involved in the lovastatin biosynthetic pathway as well as those involved in general growth and development, under stress conditions, in the fungal partner. Analysis by PCR and FISH microscopy indicated that the yeast may be present inside the hyphae of the fungus. However, a direct method like transmission electron microscopy may help to better understand the dynamics of this association including the distribution of the yeast cells in/on the fungal hyphae and spores.