Mortierella sp. GBAus27b v1.0
Mortierella sp. nov. GBAus27b
Figure 1. Mycelium of Mortierella sp. nov. GBAus27b growing on malt extract agar (MEA). Image by Alessandro Desirò.
Mortierella sp. nov. GBAus27b
Figure 2. Mycelium of Mortierella sp. nov. GBAus27b grown on malt extract agar (MEA) observed by DIC microscopy. Mortierella sp. nov. GBAus27 has a thin coenocytic mycelium rich in lipid bodies of different dimensions. Distinctive lobate structures are very abundant and spread all along the whole culture. These multi-lobate structures are not observed in the the youngest part of the mycelium, or close to hyphal tips. Image by Alessandro Desirò.

Within the framework of the 'Comparative genomics of early diverging terrestrial fungi and their bacterial endosymbionts' CSP project, we are exploring interactions and evolutionary histories of early diverging lineages of terrestrial fungi and their endobacteria (Uehling et al. 2017). Towards this goal, we are sequencing metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of a diverse panel of fungi in Mucoromycota that host endohyphal bacteria.

Mortierella is a large genus of fungi within Mucoromycota, formally classified as zygomycetes. These fungi are industrially important given their unique fatty acid and lipid metabolism, which is of interest for biofuel production. Mortierella are distributed globally and are frequently isolated and detected in soils and plant rhizospheres. Many species grow rapidly, in part owing to their coenocytic mycelium that has occasional septa and frequent anastomosis. Mortierella are considered to be haploid and heterothallic, although some isolates have been reported to be homothallic (Gams et al. 1972).

The species sequenced here, Mortierella sp. nov. (isolate GBAus27b) was isolated from soil collected from a long-term research plot in Western Australia. This species grows particularly rapidly, but does not produce the typical rosette colony morphology that is characteristic of most Mortierella species. It does produce profuse abundant aerial hypha, however (Figure 1). Microscopically, this species produces distinctive multi-lobate structures (Figure 2).

References:

Gams, W., Chiu-Yuan Chien, and K. H. Domsch. 1972. Zygospore formation by the heterothallic Mortierella elongata and a related homothallic species, M. epigama sp.nov.. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 58 (1): 5--IN2.

Uehling J, Gryganskyi A, Hameed K, Tschaplinski T, Misztal PK, Wu S, Desirò A, Vande Pol N, Du Z, Zienkiewicz A, Zienkiewicz K, Morin E, Tisserant E, Splivallo R, Hainaut M, Henrissat B, Ohm R, Kuo A, Yan J, Lipzen A, Nolan M, LaButti K, Barry K, Goldstein A, Labbé J, Schadt C, Tuskan G, Grigoriev I, Martin F, Vilgalys R, Bonito G. 2017. Comparative genomics of Mortierella elongata and its bacterial endosymbiont Mycoavidus cysteinexigens. Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13669