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Evolutionary transitions in enzyme activity of ant fungus gardens

de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard LU ; Schiøtt, M.; Mueller, U. G. and Boomsma, J.J. (2010) In Evolution 64(7). p.2055-2069
Abstract
Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes,... (More)
Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens are targeted primarily toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Decomposition, diffuse coevolution, fungus-growing ants, Leucocoprinus gongylophorus, mutualism
in
Evolution
volume
64
issue
7
pages
2055 - 2069
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:77958581185
ISSN
1558-5646
DOI
10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.00948.x
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
dd483162-7c95-4ba7-802e-958720b66102 (old id 1970616)
date added to LUP
2011-06-14 16:09:43
date last changed
2018-06-24 03:25:48
@article{dd483162-7c95-4ba7-802e-958720b66102,
  abstract     = {Fungus-growing (attine) ants and their fungal symbionts passed through several evolutionary transitions during their 50 million year old evolutionary history. The basal attine lineages often shifted between two main cultivar clades, whereas the derived higher-attine lineages maintained an association with a monophyletic clade of specialized symbionts. In conjunction with the transition to specialized symbionts, the ants advanced in colony size and social complexity. Here we provide a comparative study of the functional specialization in extracellular enzyme activities in fungus gardens across the attine phylogeny. We show that, relative to sister clades, gardens of higher-attine ants have enhanced activity of protein-digesting enzymes, whereas gardens of leaf-cutting ants also have increased activity of starch-digesting enzymes. However, the enzyme activities of lower-attine fungus gardens are targeted primarily toward partial degradation of plant cell walls, reflecting a plesiomorphic state of nondomesticated fungi. The enzyme profiles of the higher-attine and leaf-cutting gardens appear particularly suited to digest fresh plant materials and to access nutrients from live cells without major breakdown of cell walls. The adaptive significance of the lower-attine symbiont shifts remains unclear. One of these shifts was obligate, but digestive advantages remained ambiguous, whereas the other remained facultative despite providing greater digestive efficiency.},
  author       = {de Fine Licht, Henrik Hjarvard and Schiøtt, M. and Mueller, U. G. and Boomsma, J.J.},
  issn         = {1558-5646},
  keyword      = {Decomposition,diffuse coevolution,fungus-growing ants,Leucocoprinus gongylophorus,mutualism},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {2055--2069},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Evolution},
  title        = {Evolutionary transitions in enzyme activity of ant fungus gardens},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.00948.x},
  volume       = {64},
  year         = {2010},
}