BelgiumCountry of destination:
Ectomycorrhizae (ECM), symbiosis between tree roots and fungal hyphae, are essential for tree health. During ECM symbiosis, fungal effector proteins are induced and secreted to interact with the host plant. The aim of the current project is to identify the transcription factors (TFs) controlling the induction of symbiotic effectors in the ECM fungus Laccaria bicolor. Therefor, I am studying different developmental stages of ECM but also free-living mycelium exposed to plant signal molecules. A transcriptomic approach will be followed and complemented with functional genetics and ChipSeq to identify the TFs crucial for ECM development and to model their gene networks.
I am a young researcher with a general interest in evolution. Most of all, I’m delighted by the evolution of functional innovations in fungi. Functional innovations in fungi are ubiquitous but one of the best-known, high impact innovations is for sure the evolution of ectomycorrhiza (ECM). It is amazing to see how ECM fungi and their plant hosts communicate to result in the development of a specialized morphological structure. This developmental process, in the model system Laccaria-Populus, was the focus of my postdoc and AgreenSkills mobility project at INRA Nancy (2014-2016). Moving on, I am trying to understand differences in micronutrient homeostasis among ECM species, their adaptation to heavy metals and its impact on ECM symbiosis and plant host survival. This work, closely related to my PhD project (2013) I have performed at Hasselt University (Belgium). Currently, as Doctor-assistent at Hasselt University, I am combining my research with a major task in education and training, enjoying both, transferring my knowledge and enthusiasm to students and developing my research projects.
Ruytinx J., Coninx L., Nguyen H., Smisdom N., Morin E., Kohler A., Cuypers A., Colpaert J.V. 2017. Identification, evolution and functional characterization of two Zn CDFfamily transporters of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus luteus. Environmental Microbiology Reports 9: 419-427.
Nguyen H., Rineau F., Vangronsveld J., Cuypers A., Colpaert J.V., Ruytinx J. 2017. A novel, highly conserved metallothionein family in basidiomycete fungi and characterization of two representative SlMTa and SlMTb genes in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus luteus. Environmetal Microbiology 19: 2577-2587.
Daguerre Y., Levati E., Ruytinx J., Tisserant E., Morin E., Kohler A., Montaninin B., Ottonello S., Brun A., VeneaultFourrey C., Martin F. 2017. Regulatory networks underlying mycorrhizal development delineated by genome-wide expression profiling and functional analysis of the transcription factor repertoire of the plant symbiotic fungus Laccaria bicolor. BMC Genomics 18:1.
Kohler A., ..., Ruytinx J., et al., 2015. Convergent losses of decay mechanisms and rapid turnover of symbiosis genes in mycorrhizal mutualists. Nature Genetics 47: 410-415.
Ruytinx J., Nguyen H., Van Hees M., Op De Beeck M., Vangronsveld J., Carleer R., Colpaert J.V., Adriaensen K., 2013. Zinc export results in adaptive zinc tolerance in the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Suillus bovinus. Metallomics 5:1225-1233.