The symbiotic fungus Laccaria bicolor (common name: bicoloured deceiver) is a member of the Tricholomataceae, a large order of ectomycorrhizal and saprobic basidiomycetes. Laccaria is a cosmopolitan and common genus of Agaricales which has been reported from numerous ectomycorrhizal plant communities. The systematics, biogeography, and ecology of Laccaria have been well-studied. The physiological ecology of L. bicolor is well studied among ectomycorrhizal taxa, because it grows rapidly in pure culture and its mycorrhiza are easily established with tree roots under laboratory conditions. Finally, this species is used in large-scale commercial inoculation programs in forest nurseries worldwide to enhance growth of tree seedlings.
Comparison of the genomes of the different pathogenic and saprobic fungi with the Laccaria genome will be of interest to a wide range of genome and evolutionary scientists. It will provide critical insights into the genetic makeup of plant-fungus interactions.
Characterization of the interactions between Populus and its symbiotic associate, Laccaria bicolor , would allow in-depth exploration of the coordinated community response to these abiotic and biotic stresses, thus adding a needed dimension to climate change research and providing another step in the quest for mechanistic modeling of ecosystem responses. The overall purpose of the initiative is to build on available resources and to provide a comprehensive understanding of the symbiotic process and related fungal biology and ecology.
Publication: The genome of Laccaria bicolor provides insights into mycorrhizal symbiosis. Nature. 2008 Mar 6;452(7183):88-92.