Fungal Mineral Weathering Mechanisms Revealed Through Direct Molecular Visualization (preprint)

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Soil fungi facilitate the translocation of inorganic nutrients from soil minerals to other microorganisms and plants. This ability is particularly advantageous in impoverished soils, because fungal mycelial networks can bridge otherwise spatially disconnected and inaccessible nutrient hotspots. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying fungal mineral weathering and transport through soil remains poorly understood. Here, we addressed this knowledge gap by directly visualizing nutrient acquisition and transport through fungal hyphae in a mineral doped soil micromodel using a multimodal imaging approach. We observed that Fusarium sp. DS 682, a representative of common saprotrophic soil fungi, exhibited a mechanosensory response (thigmotropism) around obstacles and through pore spaces (~12 μm) in the presence of minerals. The fungus incorporated and translocated potassium (K) from K-rich mineral interfaces, as evidenced by visualization of mineral derived nutrient transport and unique K chemical moieties following fungal induced mineral weathering. Specific membrane transport proteins were expressed in the presence of minerals, including those involved in oxidative phosphorylation pathways and transmembrane transport of small molecular weight organic acids. This study establishes the significance of fungal biology and nutrient translocation mechanisms in maintaining fungal growth under water and nutrient limitations in a soil-like microenvironment.

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The Phenotypic Response of the Soil Microbiome to Environmental Perturbations Project (Soil Microbiome) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Genomic Sciences Program Science Focus Area (SFA) Project operating under the Environmental Microbiome Science Research Area. The Soil Microbiome SFA...

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Materials Scientist and Bioengineer with extensive experience in Microfabrication, Biofilm engineering, Microfluidics and Microbiology assay development. Primary areas of interest include photolithography, microfluidics, Biological imaging and Biomaterials.

Lindsey Anderson’s research has been dedicated to the identification and characterization of novel, targeted and non-targeted, functional metabolic interactions using a high-throughput systems biology and computational biology approach. Her expertise in functional metabolism and multidisciplinary...

Dr. Nelson’s background is in genomic analysis of microbial organisms. He spent 10 years at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), first as a data analyst and then as the team lead for Microbial Annotation. He was involved in some of the earliest bacterial genome sequencing projects, including...

Education Ph.D. 1998, Oregon State University. Forest Science. Area(s) of Specialization Mycology; fungal ecology; fungus-plant interactions. Research Focus My laboratory studies the environmental selection processes that dictate the extant community structures. Towards these goals, we have adopted...

Janet Jansson is Chief Scientist for Biology in the Biological Sciences Division and a Laboratory Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Jansson has more than 30 years of experience in microbial ecology. Jansson earned an M.S.in Soil Microbiology at Colorado State University...

As Integrative Research Scientist, Dr. Hofmockel develops the overall science and technology strategy for EMSL in collaboration with the Deputy Directors. Responsible for EMSL’s Strategic Science Area in collaboration with the Deputy Directors. Is the interface with BER and the user community for...

Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2005. He attained his PhD in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2011, under Mary L. Kraft, where his graduate work focused on using secondary ion mass...

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Arunima Bhattacharjee
Lindsey N. Anderson
Andrea Porras-Alfaro
Ari Jumpponen
Kirsten Hofmockel
Janet K. Jansson
Dr Christopher R Anderton
Dr William C Nelson
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