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Data from: Multiple infections, relatedness and virulence in the anther-smut fungus castrating Saponaria plants

Citation

Fortuna, Taiadjana M. et al. (2018), Data from: Multiple infections, relatedness and virulence in the anther-smut fungus castrating Saponaria plants, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.75jp4q7

Abstract

Multiple infections (co-occurrence of multiple pathogen genotypes within an individual host) can have important impacts on diseases. Relatedness among pathogens can affect the likelihood of multiple infections and their consequences through kin selection. Previous studies on the castrating anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae have shown that multiple infections occur in its host plant Silene latifolia. Relatedness was high among fungal genotypes within plants, which could result from competitive exclusion between unrelated fungal genotypes, from population structure or from interactions between plant and fungal genotypes for infection ability. Here, we aimed at disentangling these hypotheses using M. saponariae and its host Saponaria officinalis, both experimentally tractable for these questions. By analysing populations using microsatellite markers, we also found frequent occurrence of multiple infections and high relatedness among strains within host plants. Infections resulting from experimental inoculations in the greenhouse also revealed high relatedness among strains coinfecting host plants, even in clonally-replicated plant genotypes, indicating that high relatedness within plants did not result merely from plant x fungus interactions or population structure. Furthermore, hyphal growth in vitro was affected by the presence of a competitor growing nearby and by its genetic similarity, although this latter effect was strain-dependent. Altogether, our results support the hypothesis that relatedness-dependent competitive exclusion occurs in Microbotryum fungi within plants. These micro-organisms can thus respond to competitors and to their level of relatedness.

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