Bacterial hitchhikers derive benefits from fungal housing

Curr Biol. 2022 Feb 24:S0960-9822(22)00239-1. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.02.017. Online ahead of print.


Fungi and bacteria are ubiquitous constituents of all microbiomes, yet mechanisms of microbial persistence in polymicrobial communities remain obscure. Here, we examined the hypothesis that specialized fungal survival structures, chlamydospores, induced by bacterial lipopeptides serve as bacterial reservoirs. We find that symbiotic and pathogenic gram-negative bacteria from non-endosymbiotic taxa enter and propagate in chlamydospores. Internalized bacteria have higher fitness than planktonic bacteria when challenged with abiotic stress. Further, tri-cultures of Ralstonia solanacearum, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Aspergillus flavus reveal the unprecedented finding that chlamydospores are colonized by endofungal bacterial communities. Our work identifies a previously unknown ecological role of chlamydospores, provides an expanded view of microbial niches, and presents significant implications for the persistence of pathogenic and beneficial bacteria.

PMID:35235767 | DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2022.02.017

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