Mushrooms are a nutritious and sustainable food source for a growing world population. However, mushroom-forming fungi are prone to infections by a range of fungal and bacterial pathogens, which can lead to devastating crop losses. A solution is to develop strains that are more resistant, but this requires understanding of the fungal innate immune system. Relatively little is currently known about this, especially compared to animals and plants. No regulatory components of the defense against pathogens have been identified in mushroom-forming fungi. The aim of this project is to identify the gene regulatory network and signal transduction pathways involved in defense of mushroom-forming fungi against their (fungal) competitors.
This project is funded by a VIDI grant from NWO (Dutch Research Council) awarded to Robin Ohm.
Figure. The mushroom-forming fungus Schizophyllum commune (right, white mycelium) and its competitor Trichoderma harzianum (left, green sporulating mycelium).