Lichens are recognized by macroscopic structures formed by a heterotrophic fungus, the mycobiont, which hosts internal autotrophic photosynthetic algal and/or cyanobacterial partners, referred to as the photobiont. We analyzed structure and functionality of the entire lung lichen </i>Lobaria pulmonaria</i> L. Hoffm. collected from two different sites by state-of-the-art metaproteomics. In addition to the green algae and the ascomycetous fungus, a lichenicolous fungus, as well as a complex prokaryotic community (different from the cyanobacteria) was found, the latter dominated by methanotrophic Rhizobiales. Various partner-specific proteins could be assigned to the different lichen symbionts, e.g. fungal proteins involved in vesicle transport, algal proteins functioning in photosynthesis, cyanobacterial nitrogenase and GOGAT involved in nitrogen-fixation, and bacterial enzymes responsible for methanol/C1-compounds metabolism as well as CO-detoxification. Structural and functional information on proteins expressed by the lichen community complemented and extended our recent symbiosis model depicting the functional multi-player network of single holobiont partners. Our new metaproteome analysis strongly supports the hypothesis (i) that interactions within the self-supporting association are multifaceted and (ii) that the strategy of functional diversification within the single lichen partners may support the longevity of </i>L. pulmonaria</i> under certain ecological conditions.
- Journal Article