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Home • Neolentinus lepideus v1.0
Photo of Neolentinus lepideus v1.0
Neolentinus lepideus. Photo by Richard Kneal (mushroomobserver.org)

Within the framework of the CSP 'Metatranscriptomics of Forest Soil Ecosystems' project, we are aiming to explore the interaction of forest trees with communities of soil fungi, including ectomycorrhizal symbionts that dramatically affect bioenergy-relevant plant growth, and saprotrophic soil fungi impacting carbon sequestration in forests. We are sequencing the genome of the most abundant fungal species harvested on studied sites to serve as the foundation for a reference database for metagenomics of fungi and for a comprehensive survey of the potential soil fungal metabolome.

Neolentinus lepideus

This is a worldwide distributed species belonging to the small order Gloeophyllales. The Gloeophyllales includes brown-rot species with tough, corky fruiting bodies. However, the morphology of fruiting bodies is very diverse, including resupinate, polyporoid and agaricoid species. N. lepideus belongs to the latter category, with well-delimited stipe, cap and lamellae and represents an independent acquisition of the agaricoid fruiting body type. Fruiting bodies show high levels of convergence in mushrooms. The agaricoid type only has evolved several times in distantly related orders, such as the Agaricales, Boletales, Russulales, Hymenochaetales and the Gloeophyllales. Of these, the Gloeophyllales is one of the most ancient order where agaricoid species evolved, which makes it a very useful source of information for understanding the evolution of fruiting body plans in mushrooms.

Furthermore, the genome of N. lepideus has an important contribution to deciphering the phylogenetic position of Agaricomycete orders. The position of the Gloeophyllales on the phylogenetic tree of the Agaricomycetes has been unresolved based on previous multi gene phylogenies. By analyzing a genome-wide set of genes from this and other taxa, we expect to gain a strongly supported phylogenetic placement for the Gloeophyllales.

The common name of this species is Train Wrecker, which refers to its ability to grow on railroad ties. It can also grow on timber in mines, including chemically preserved woody material. Regarding wood-rot type, Neolentinus belongs to the brown-rotters, i.e. it attacks only cellulose in the wood. The type of rot was the basis for the taxonomic separation of Neolentinus from Lentinus, since the latter is a white-rot group in the Polyporales. Because of its position on the phylogenetic tree of the Agaricomycotina, Neolentinus is critical to recovering the evolution of the wood-decay apparatus and contributes to the resolution of several ambiguities about the origin and expansion of lignocellulose decaying gene families.


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