Clavulina sp. PMI_390 v1.0
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Clavulina (Clavulinaceae, Cantharellales, Basidiomycota) are widely known as "coral fungi" and are a globally distributed genus of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi that form coral-like and sometimes resupinate fruiting bodies on soil or leaf litter. Some Clavulina taxa are known only from environmental samples, such as ectomycorrhizas, where they function in carbon and nutrient exchange. Recent sporocarp collecting efforts and belowground molecular studies suggest that Clavulina is most diverse in the tropics. The traditional diagnostic characters for Clavulina included coralloid, much-branched basidiomata with amphigenous hymenia, basidia with two incurved sterigmata and postpartal septa, and smooth, hyaline, guttulate basidiospores. The approximately 80 described species of Clavulina reside in temperate and tropical forests and form mycorrhizal symbioses with diverse plant lineages, including important bioenergy crops (e.g. Populus, Pinus). The isolate (PMI 390) whose genome was sequenced here is an environmental isolate cultured from a healthy Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) ectomycorrhizae collected in Duke Forest, NC USA. Phylogenetic analysis of ITS rDNA indicates it is related to the basal Clavulina members. This species is being studied through the DOE Plant-Microbial Interfaces and NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity projects. The key interest in studying mycorrhizal genomics of species such as Clavulina is (1) to determine the mechanisms by which these fungi are able to establish plant symbiosis, and (2) the role of these fungi in maintaining plant health and ecosystem functioning.