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Micronutrient homeostasis

Underground hyphal networks regulate plant’s nutrient access and limit translocation of pollutants in exchange for sugars. Regulation of nutrient exchange and its impact on sustainability of the mycorrhizal mutualism is unclear. We are aiming at unraveling the role of micronutrient Zn in mycorrhizal fungi and symbiosis. We study Zn dynamics and trafficking upon environmental change to evaluate the contribution of mycorrhizal fungi at plant Zn balances and to explore the potential of Zn to act as a molecular signal beyond its trophic role. The results of our studies will contribute profound knowledge on Zn homeostasis and gene regulation in mycorrhiza, linking cytoplasmic Zn availability to adaptive growth responses. This will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the pervasive power of mycorrhizal fungi in terrestrial ecosystems.

Supported by: VUB, ANRFWO, CSC