I am a fungal biologist with an interest in evolutionary genetics.
My overall interest is in the evolutionary biology of fungi with a special emphasis on fungal reproductive biology and symbiotic associations. My work to date focused on one lineage of fungi known as arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (Glomeromycota). Glomeromycota colonize roots of the majority of land plants, including many crop species, and form a symbiosis, in which the fungi assist plants in the uptake of mineral nutrients in exchange for plant-assimilated carbon. My short-term research goals are to understand several aspects of the basic biology of these organisms:
1. The reproductive biology and evolution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
2. The role of common mycorrhizal networks in the ecology and evolution of arbuscular mycorrhiza.
3. The role of bacterial endosymbionts in the biology of Glomeromycota and in the functioning of arbuscular mycorrhizae.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomeromycota) facilitate plant mineral nutrient uptake and play an important role in the functioning of plant communities, both natural and managed. Because of this role in plant mineral nutrition, Glomeromycota hold a promise of becoming a substitute for chemical fertilizers.
My undergraduate teaching efforts center around evolution and ecology of mutualisms with a particular emphasis on microbial interactions. In my graduate-level teaching, I explore evolution of reproductive modes.
- Naito, M., Desirò, A., Gonzalez, . B., Tao, G., Morton, . B., Bonfante, P., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2017). 'Candidatus Moeniiplasma glomeromycotorum', an endobacterium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 67:1177–1184.
- Mondo, S. J., Lastovetsky, O. A., Gaspar, M., Schwardt, N. H., Barber, C. C., Riley, R., Sun, H., Grigoriev, I. V., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2017). Bacterial endosymbionts influence host sexuality and reveal reproductive genes of early divergent fungi. Nature Communications. 8:9.
- Naito, M., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2016). Defying Muller’s Ratchet: Ancient heritable endobacteria escape extinction through retention of recombination and genome plasticity. mBio. 7:e02057-15.
- Lastovetsky, O. A., Gaspar, M., Mondo, S. J., LaButti, K. M., Sandor, L., Grigoriev, I. ., Henry, S. A., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2016). Lipid metabolic changes in an early divergent fungus govern the establishment of a mutualistic symbiosis with endobacteria. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113:15102-15107.
- Mondo, S. J., Salvioli, A., Bonfante, P., Morton, J. B., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2016). Nondegenerative evolution in ancient heritable bacterial endosymbionts of fungi. MBE: Molecular Biology and Evolution. 10.1093/molbev/msw086.
- Naito, M., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2016). The role of mobile genetic elements in evolutionary longevity of heritable endobacteria. Mobile Genetic Elements. 6:e1136375.
- Naito, M., Joseph, M. B., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2015). Minimal genomes of mycoplasma-related endobacteria are plastic and contain host-derived genes for sustained life within Glomeromycota. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 10.1073/pnas.1501676112.
- Toomer, K. H., Chen, X., Naito, M., Mondo, S. J., den Bakker, H. C., VanKuren, N. W., Lekberg, Y., Morton, J. B., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2015). Molecular evolution patterns reveal life history features of mycoplasma-related endobacteria associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Molecular Ecology. 10.1111/mec.13250.
- Desirò, A., Salvioli, A., Ngonkeu, E. N., Mondo, S. J., Epis, S., Andres, K., Faccio, A., Pawlowska, T. E., & Bonfante, P. (2014). Detection of a novel intracellular microbiome hosted in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. 8:257-270.
- Moebius-Clune, D. J., Moebius-Clune, B. N., van Es, H. M., & Pawlowska, T. E. (2013). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with a single agronomic plant host across the landscape: Community differentiation along a soil textural gradient. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 64:191-199.
Presentations and Activities
- Exploring microbiomes of fungi. October 2014. Drexel University. Philadelphia, PA.
- Exploring fungal microbiomes. August 2014. University of Pretoria. Pretoria, South Africa.
- The role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in modern agriculture. August 2014. Agricultural Research Council. Pretoria, South Africa.
- Bacterial endosymbionts control developmental programs in early diverging fungi. IMC10. August 2014. Bangkok, Thailand.
- Bacterial endosymbionts of early divergent fungi. June 2014. Vienna University of Technology. Vienna, Austria.
- Bacterial endosymbionts of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. June 2014. INRA. Nancy, France.
- Bacterial endosymbionts of early divergent fungi. June 2014. University of Western Brittany. Brest, France.
- Bacterial endosymbionts of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. May 2014. INRA. Dijon, France.
- Bacterial endosymbionts of fungi as a study system to expand mutualism theory. Bacterial-Fungal Interactions . December 2013. Conferences Jacques-Monod. Roscoff, France.
- Understanding interactions between fungi and bacteria in the rhizosphere. EMSL Integration 2013. August 2013. PNNL. Richland, WA.