still have a question re: lichen reverse transcription

Daniel Sonis sonis at
Fri Jan 28 11:21:25 EST 2000

Thanks for the reply. Still have a question though.

>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
Such substances could be relevant to human retroviruses.

Of course if reverse transcriptase inhibitors are common in eukaryotic
cells then it's mainly of  interest in understanding lichens,
again only if I'm not simply wrong, but I wasn't aware that reverse
inhibitors were common in nature.



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