Data from: Phenotypic responses to microbial volatiles render a mold fungus more susceptible to insect damage
Ortiz, Silvia Caballero et al. (2019), Data from: Phenotypic responses to microbial volatiles render a mold fungus more susceptible to insect damage, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pc1q925
In decomposer systems, fungi show diverse phenotypic responses to volatile organic compounds of microbial origin (volatiles). The mechanisms underlying such responses and their consequences for the performance and ecological success of fungi in a multitrophic community context have rarely been tested explicitly. We used a laboratory‐based approach in which we investigated a tripartite yeast–mold–insect model decomposer system to understand the possible influence of yeast‐borne volatiles on the ability of a chemically defended mold fungus to resist insect damage. The volatile‐exposed mold phenotype (1) did not exhibit protein kinase A‐dependent morphological differentiation, (2) was more susceptible to insect foraging activity, and (3) had reduced insecticidal properties. Additionally, the volatile‐exposed phenotype was strongly impaired in secondary metabolite formation and unable to activate “chemical defense” genes upon insect damage. These results suggest that volatiles can be ecologically important factors that affect the chemical‐based combative abilities of fungi against insect antagonists and, consequently, the structure and dynamics of decomposer communities.