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Lycopodiella inundata: insights into plant-fungal associations in early vascular plantsKowal, J; Duckett, J; Jacob, A; Rimington, W; Bidartondo, M; Field, K; Schornack, S; Pressel, S (2017-03-07)Recent studies have revealed that extant basal vascular plants associate with a wide range of Mucoromycotina and/or Glomeromycota fungi, paralleling the same in non-vascular liverworts and hornworts. This dispels the long-held paradigm that these early diverging lineages harbour Glomeromycota exclusively. Endophytes belonging to both fungal lineages have also been reported, for the first time, in a Devonian plant (Horneophyton ligneri). Together these discoveries point to much more diverse plant-fungus interactions in early vascular plants than previously assumed, however our understanding of these remains limited. In order to gain further insights into these key partnerships, especially those involving the early diverging Mucoromycotina, we are developing the lycophyte Lycopodiella inundata as an experimental system. L. inundata sporophytes have been shown to harbour solely Mucoromycotina fungi but equally fundamental, the identity of its gametophyte endophyte remains unknown. Using molecular and cytological approaches, we confirm that young L. inundata sporophytes are colonized exclusively by Mucoromycotina and show that the cytology of colonisation - consisting of both inter- and intracellular phases - closely resembles that in Haplomitriopsida liverwort-Mucoromycotina partnerships and the corm of H. ligneri. Our current isolation, resynthesis and molecular studies will provide further insights into both host and fungi specificity.