Together or alone? How endohyphal bacteria impact their fungal host?
The main aim of this study is to understand the impact of endohyphal bacteria on biology and fitness of their fungal host under optimal and stress conditions. The study will be conducted on a recently described relationship between Umbelopsis and Paraburkholderia. In this project, I also plan to analyze the molecular mechanism responsible for establishing the symbiosis. In order to achieve these goals, an experiment in which growth rate and differential gene expression profiles will be compared between fungus with and without endohyphal bacteria in optimal conditions, as well as osmotic, thermal, and cell membrane stress. The results of the experiment will help answer the question how the bacteria impact the fungal growth and gene expression depending on the environmental conditions. Ecological and molecular characterization of the previously unknown relationship between fungus and endohyphal bacteria can also bring us closer to answering the question about the wider evolutionary context of bacterial-fungal interactions, including their role in plant terrestrialization.