Host Genotype and Precipitation Influence of Fungal Endophyte Symbiosis and Mycotoxin Abundance in a Locoweed

Wei He, Linwei Guo, Lei Wang, Qianqian Zhao, Lizhu Guo, Wei Cao, Luis Mur, Yahui Wei

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Many plant endophytes produce mycotoxins, but how host genetic variation influences endophyte colonization and mycotoxin production under natural conditions is poorly understood. This interaction has not been fully considered in many previous studies which used controlled experiments with agronomic or model plant species. Here, we investigated this interaction in a naturally occurring forb (a locoweed species) Oxytropis ochrocephala, its symbiotic endophyte Alternaria oxytropis, and the mycotoxin swainsonine. Host genetic variation was characterized by microsatellite markers. Endophyte infection rate and swainsonine levels were determined by PCR and HPLC, respectively. Genetic markers defined two distinct host populations and revealed that host genetics were significantly correlated with geographical location, elevation, and precipitation. As the host diverged, symbiotic interactions were reduced or failed to produce detectable swainsonine in one host population. Host genotype and precipitation had a significant impact in shaping swainsonine production at the population level. This study highlights the effect of host genotype in influencing this interaction in locoweeds
Original languageEnglish
Article number5285
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019


  • oxytropis ochrocephala
  • genetic variation
  • endophyte
  • alternaria oxytropsis
  • swainsonine
  • Oxytropis ochrocephala
  • Genetic variation
  • Endophyte
  • Alternaria oxytropis
  • Swainsonine
  • Symbiosis
  • Mycotoxins/analysis
  • Genotype
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Genetic Variation
  • Microsatellite Repeats/genetics
  • Astragalus Plant/genetics
  • Swainsonine/analysis
  • Ascomycota/growth & development


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