A new partner in lichen symbiosis was reported in the July issue of Science. This paper challenges the age old assumption that a lichen is made up of one ascomycete fungus and one photobiont partner. Here authors report they found a basidiomycete yeasts present in 52 different lichen genera on six continents. They discovered this association through transcriptome sequencing in order to study the cause of phenotypic variation in two lichens (Bryoria fremontii and B. tortuosa) that had no differences at a sequence level. In the B. tortuosa transcriptome they found reads that were annotated to a basidomycete yeast. Their molecular work fluorescent microscopy detected the basidiomycete cells were located in the peripheral cortex of the thallus. Read the whole paper below to find out more!
Spribille, T., Tuovinen, V., Resl, P., Vanderpool, D., Wolinski, H., Aime, M. C., . . . Mccutcheon, J. P. (2016). Basidiomycete yeasts in the cortex of ascomycete macrolichens. Science, 353(6298), 488-492. doi:10.1126/science.aaf8287