Fungi of genus Epichloë (Ascomycota, Clavicipitaceae) are common endophytic symbionts of Poaceae, including wild and agronomically important cool-season grass species (subfam. Poöideae). Here, we examined the genetic diversity of Epichloë from three European species of Brachypodium (B. sylvaticum, B. pinnatum and B. phoenicoides) and three species of Calamagrostis (C. arundinacea, C. purpurea and C. villosa), using DNA sequences of tubB and tefA genes. In addition, microsatellite markers were obtained from a larger set of isolates from B. sylvaticum sampled across Europe. Based on phylogenetic analyses the isolates from Brachypodium hosts were placed in three different subclades within the Epichloë typhina complex (ETC) but did not strictly group according to host grass species, suggesting that the host does not always select for particular endophyte genotypes. Analysis of microsatellite markers confirmed the presence of genetically distinct lineages of Epichloë sylvatica on B. sylvaticum, which appeared to be tied to different modes of reproduction (sexual or asexual). Among isolates from Calamagrostis hosts, two subclades were detected which were placed outside ETC. These endophyte lineages are recognized as distinct species for which we propose the names E. calamagrostidis Leuchtm. & Schardl, sp. nov. and E. ftanensis Leuchtm. & A.D. Treindl, sp. nov. This study extends knowledge of the phylogeny and evolutionary diversification of Epichloë endophytes that are symbionts of wild Brachypodium and Calamagrostis host grasses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), Grant Number 31003A_138479 and 31003A_169269.
© 2022 by the authors.
- Epichloë endophytes
- phylogenetic analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science
- Microbiology (medical)