Mycorrhizal fungi belonging to the genus Tuber produce, after the establishment of a productive interaction with a plant host, hypogeous fruitbodies of great economic value known as ''truffles''. This review summarizes the state of art on life cycle, genetic, and biotechnological investigations of Tuber spp. The ascocarp formation in truffles is a consequence of the activation of the sexual phase of the biological cycle. The formation of a dikaryotic secondary mycelium and the karyogamy in the ascal cell (followed by meiosis with ascospores formation) have been hypothesized by several authors but some doubts yet arise from the Tuber cycle by considering that a series of abnormalities have been pointed out in respect to other Ascomycetes. It is unclear if binucleated hyphal cells are derived from the fusion of mononucleated cells belonging to mycelia from different mating types or from one only. According to the karyotypes of Tuber melanosporum, Tuber magnatum, and Tuber borchii, the numbers of hyphal chromosomes suggest a chromosome number of eight (2n); these values are in the range of those of several Ascomycetes and observed for Tuber aestivum (2n=10). The importance and growth in interest during the last years in the fungi protoplasts isolation and transformation techniques can be related to current developments in Tuber genetics and biotechnology. T. borchii could be transformed through liposome-mediated delivery of genetic material as mycelial protoplasts isolation and fusion with liposomes has already been established. On the other hand, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation has been successfully established for T. borchii.
- Tuber spp.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology