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Suillus lakei
Suillus lakei photographed by Nhu Nguyen, November 18, 2017 near Mendocino, California.

Suillus lakei

Suillus lakei (Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Thiers is a mutualistic ectomycorrhizal mushroom-forming fungus that exchanges soil mineral nutrients for photosynthates from its host. The species has a broad distribution and associates specifically with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) in Western North America, Europe, Australasia and Argentina where its host was introduced (Pietras et al. 2018). Mushroom are typically found in mature forest stands. The native populations along the Pacific coast with moist winters appear to be morphologically different than those that occur in the Rocky Mountains with drier summers. In contrast to the coastal populations, the populations in the Rocky Mountains can produce numerous enormous fruiting bodies. ITS sequences were not able to distinguish these populations (Nguyen et al. 2016). In culture, it appears to have low tolerance to acidity (Huggins et al. 2014) and moderate ability to use proteins (Rineau et al. 2016).

Suillus as a genus is one of the most common ectomycorrhizal symbionts of the pine family (Pinaceae) in the northern hemisphere. Commonly known as ‘Slippery Jacks’, the mushrooms of this genus provide food for both wildlife and humans. Suillus species have been used in forest restoration following natural and human-made disturbances, have potential for bioremediation (mycoremediation), and likely play an important role in facilitating soil carbon sequestration in mycorrhizal forests.

This genome is part of the Community Science Program (Proposal 502931) “A genome atlas of the ectomycorrhizal genus Suillus: Phylogenetic diversity and population genomics of a keystone guild of symbiotic forest fungi”, a collaborative effort aimed at using genomics data to understand and connect the evolutionary history, ecology, and genomic mechanisms of mutualistic ectomycorrhizal symbionts and their Pinaceae hosts. Please contact the PI for permission prior to the use of any data in publications.


Huggins, J. a., Talbot, J., Gardes, M., & Kennedy, P. G. (2014). Unlocking environmental keys to host specificity: differential tolerance of acidity and nitrate by Alnus-associated ectomycorrhizal fungi. Fungal Ecology, 12, 52–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funeco.2014.04.003

Nguyen NH, Vellinga EC, Bruns TD, Kennedy PG. 2016. Phylogenetic assessment of global Suillus ITS sequences supports morphologically defined species and reveals synonymous and undescribed taxa. Mycologia 108:1216–1228, doi:10.3852/16-106.

Pietras M, Litkowiec M, Gołębiewska J. 2018. Current and potential distribution of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus lakei ((Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Thiers) in its invasion range. Mycorrhiza. 1–9, doi:10.1007/s00572-018-0836-x.

Rineau F, Stas J, Nguyen NH, Kuyper TW, Carleer R, Vangronsveld J, Colpaert J V, Kennedy PG. 2016. Ectomycorrhizal fungal protein degradation ability predicted by soil organic nitrogen availability. Appl Environ Microbiol. 82:1391–1400, doi:10.1128/AEM.03191-15.

Genome Reference(s)