lichen question

Daniel Sonis sonis at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 4 09:38:27 EST 2000


This might be totally wrong but here goes:

>From what I know about lichen symbiosis there is a period during the
formation of the lichen when the fungi "takes control" of the algae. It
then induces a number of
morphological and physiological changes in the algae.

So my question is how does this happen? If it happens at the level of
the algal genome then a couple mechanisms come to mind:

1. A cytoplasmic connection is esthablished and fungal DNA enters the
algae as a
plasmid or something similar and integrates into the genome or is
expressed from the plasmid.

2. Fungal RNAs are reverse transcribed and integrate into the algal
genome and are expressed as if they were endogenous genes.

Of course I could be totally off track and the changes might not be at
the genome level at all.

But what I'm curious about are the implications if it does occur at the
genome level. To me the most interesting is that some algal species are
resistant to
lichen symbiosis.
Theese species might contain inhibitors of reverse transcriptase or
integrase.
Such substances could be relevant to human retroviruses.

Again all this could be totally off track and I suspect it is but does
anyone have
info on this?

THANKS






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