Home • Mortierella capitata AV005 v1.0
Colony morphology of Mortierella sp. showing typical rosette pattern of growth. Image courtesy of Abigail Bryson.
Colony morphology of Mortierella sp. showing typical rosette pattern of growth. Image courtesy of Abigail Bryson.

Within the framework of the ‘Comparative genomics of early diverging terrestrial fungi and their bacterial endosymbionts’ CSP project, we are exploring interactions and evolutionary histories of early diverging lineages of terrestrial fungi and their endobacteria (Uehling et al. 2017). Towards this goal, we are sequencing metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of a diverse panel of fungi in Mucoromycota that host endohyphal bacteria.

Mortierella is a large genus of fungi within Mucoromycota, formally classified as zygomycetes.  Mortierella are distributed globally and are frequently isolated and detected in soils and plant rhizospheres. Many species grow rapidly, in part owing to their coenocytic mycelium that has occasional septa and frequent anastomosis. Mortierella are considered to be haploid and heterothallic, although some isolates have been reported to be homothallic (Gams et al. 1972).

Mortierella capitata belongs to the earliest diverging clade within Mortierellomycotina, and is characterized by morphological heterothallism that gives rise to a unique zygospore form  (Degawa and Tokumasu 1997). Many species in this clade appear to associate with animals, such as isopods and millipedes (Degawa and Tokumasu 1997, Macias et al. 2019). The isolate sequenced here, Mortierella capitata AV005 was isolated from soil collected from coastal soil in Puerto Rico. Mortierella capitata grows with a rosette colony morphology characteristic of many Mortierella species, and is colonized by a novel endohyphal bacterium belonging to Mycoavidus.

Degawa, Y., and S. Tokumasu. 1997. Zygospore Formation in Mortierella capitata. Mycoscience 38:387-394. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02461677.

Gams, W., Chiu-Yuan Chien, and K. H. Domsch. 1972. Zygospore formation by the heterothallic Mortierella elongata and a related homothallic species, M. epigama sp.nov.. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 58 (1): 5–IN2.

Macias, A., P. Marek, E. Morrissey, M. Brewer, D. Short, C. Stauder, K. Wickert, et al. 2019. Diversity and Function of Fungi Associated with the Fungivorous Millipede, Brachycybe lecontii. Fungal Ecology 41: 187–97.

Uehling J, Gryganskyi A, Hameed K, Tschaplinski T, Misztal PK, Wu S, Desirò A, Vande Pol N, Du Z, Zienkiewicz A, Zienkiewicz K, Morin E, Tisserant E, Splivallo R, Hainaut M, Henrissat B, Ohm R, Kuo A, Yan J, Lipzen A, Nolan M, LaButti K, Barry K, Goldstein A, Labbé J, Schadt C, Tuskan G, Grigoriev I, Martin F, Vilgalys R, Bonito G. 2017. Comparative genomics of Mortierella elongata and its bacterial endosymbiont Mycoavidus cysteinexigens. Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13669