We investigated the physiology that underlies the influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization on outcomes of interactions between plants. We grew Medicago truncatula A17 and its AM-defective mutant dmi1 in intragenotypic (two plants per pot of the same genotype, x2) or intergenotypic (one plant of each genotype, 1+1) combinations, inoculated or not with Rhizophagus irregularis (formerly Glomus intraradices) or Gigaspora margarita. We measured plant growth, colonization, contributions of AM and direct P uptake pathways using 32P, and expression of plant Pi transporter genes at two levels of P supply. A17 (x2) responded positively to inoculation only at Low P. The response was enhanced with 1+1 even at High P where colonization in A17 was reduced. With R. irregularis P uptake by the AM pathway was unaffected by P supply, whereas with G. margarita the AM pathway was lower at High P, and direct uptake higher. Gene expression varied and was unrelated to P uptake through the two pathways. There was no evidence of plant control of P uptake via R. irregularis at High P but there was via G. margarita. Importantly, growth responses of plant genotypes grown alone did not predict outcomes of intergenotypic interactions.
Via Christophe Jacquet