Sea-fungi have long been overlooked in the research community despite their likely contributions to the health of marine ecosystems. Now, a team from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has given a first in-depth look at the variety of marine mushrooms and their cell division cycles that opens the door to this oft-neglected branch of the mushroom kingdom.
"Little is known about fungi in the marine environment," says Amy Gladfelter, MBL fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior author of the new study, published in Current Biology . "This was an opportunity to understand who could be there and what they are doing and also to discover some new fungal systems that may have an interesting biology."
The article describes 35 species of sea mushrooms collected at various locations in Woods Hole, many of which have never been studied before. The team noted numerous surprises, including unconventional cell division cycles in certain black fungi that are common in extreme marine environments.
"There is a great variety of marine mushrooms ̵
The research project was inspired by Gladfelter's longstanding interest in fungi and their cell biology processes, such as polarity and cell division Field, a lecturer at Harvard University and a scientist at the MBL Whitman Center, and Mitchison-Field, who spent much of the project bachelors at Mount Holyoke College and spent summers at MBL.
Mitchison-Field took advantage this advantage
"We brought samples from coastal waters, swamps, beaches, and other environments and clad them on different types e types of media with nutrients, hoping to breed mushrooms, "says Mitchison-Field. Then I observed the growth of the colonies over a period of usually one to two and a half weeks. During growth, I selected certain colonies to be isolated and examined them using Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) from [time-lapse] microscopy.
A group of black-eared species proved to be particularly interesting: one species produced several buds per cell cycle and not the only bud found in the classical model of mushroom reproduction, another species alternated their reproductive methods and switched between fission and budding at each cell division cycle.
As the first study of its kind, its work is already beating waves in cell biology. (See comment here.)
"The response we have received from cell biologists … is a sense of wonderment," says Gladfelter, "Like," Wow, there's still so much out there that we do not know it. & # 39; We hope that this will inspire people to seek new biology in this incredibly diverse biosphere, which has been little researched so far.
Having found so many different types of fungi in such diverse locations, the team hopes to study how fungi interact with each other's environments.
"One hope for the future is that we can study fungi in the context of different hosts "Gladfelter says of genes they express."
Mitchison-Field spent many summers in Woods Hole with her parents Christine Field and Tim Mitchison, longtime scientists from the MBL Whitman Center at Harvard University. This MBL collaboration with Gladfelter and several other visiting scientists enabled Mitchison-Field to strengthen field and laboratory work skills in a real-life environment while studying, resulting in their first work as first author.
Sea mushrooms reveal new branches on the tree of life
Lorna M.Y. Mitchison-Field et al., Unconventional Cell Division Cycles from Marine Yeasts, Current Biology (2019). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cub.2019.08.050
First in-depth study of sea mushrooms and their cell division cycles (2019, October 26)
retrieved on October 26, 2019
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