Comparative transcriptomics of the widespread Mycena mushrooms: What genomic features makes saprotrophs turn into opportunistic biotrophs and symbionts?

Navn på bevillingshaver

Christoffer Bugge Harder


DKK 425,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


My project aims to discover the molecular mechanisms fungi use to switch between different lifestyles, and how they adapt to extreme habitats such as the Arctic Tundra. Fungi perform notable ecosystem functions in nature, both beneficial - as degraders of dead material (saprotrophs) and in symbiotic relationships with vascular plants (mycorrhizal) - and harmful, as parasites on plants and animals (pathogens), or as degraders of houses/buildings. I use the genus Mycena as model organisms, since I have recently discovered that this single genus contains species with different life forms, and since I have found Arctic species to have 10 times larger genomes than most fungi. I will be based at Lund University who are world-leading experts in genomics of fungi.


In many projects sequencing fungal genomes, the ecology (lifestyle) of the species analysed is being been taken for granted based on general assumptions of a whole genus. Here, we have already directly tested the growth of the fungi on different media and their interaction with a host plant, and expand on this alongside our sequencing their genomics and transcriptomics (gene expression). Because of this, and since our study organisms are related, yet display a continuum of ecologies - saprotrophic, parasitic and beneficial - we are much better able to directly identify recently evolved features, the fungal genetic mechanims that controls them, and how they work. This could elucidate enigmatic parts of the fungal evolution which are of direct interest to all scientists working with fungi.


My research has and will be done in collaboration with several institutions that all have specific expertise in each subfield I need. I have been to Greenland with Jacob Heilmann-Clausen (University of Copenhagen) to obtain Artic mycorrhiza-fungi for genome sequencing. Joint Genome Institute (USA) and University of Nancy (France) will assist the genome sequencing, and I will grow my Mycena and host plant(birch) cultures in Lund, extract the DNA/RNA there, and then analyse the fungal gene expression in cooperation with both Lund, INRA and The Oslo Mycology Group.

Tilbage til oversigtssiden