Genomic Science Program
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Biological and Environmental Research Program

2023 Abstracts

Expanding Knowledge of Bacterial-Fungal Interactions in Environmental Microbiomes


Aaron Robinson* ([email protected]), Julia Kelliher, Buck Hanson, Reid Longley, Demosthenes Morales, and Patrick Chain


Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)



As part of the LANL Science Focus Area (SFA) on Bacterial-Fungal Interactions (BFIs), researchers are developing novel bioinformatic and experimental tools and resources for the identification and characterization of BFIs that occur within complex natural microbiomes. The theoretical framework of this project is built upon gaining a more comprehensive understanding of how bacteria and fungi sense, respond to, and co-evolve with one another using multiomics-based interrogations. A more complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying BFIs allows interrogation of how the dynamics of these relationships are altered in the context of environmental change (e.g., nutrient availability, temperature). Through these studies, the team hopes to gain a predictive understanding of how these interactions impact microbiome function and how they may be altered to steer the function of soil ecosystems and increase resilience to climate change and other environmental perturbations.


Diverse members of the bacterial and fungal kingdoms often co-dominate environmental microbiomes. Over the past decade, it has become clear that members from these two kingdoms frequently interact (Robinson et al. 2021). However, many gaps in knowledge, resources, and data remain in the field of BFIs. The BFI SFA has performed a number of investigations which have provided increased knowledge on the diversity of these interactions, how bacteria and fungi co-evolve, the molecular mechanisms which drive BFIs, and other important areas within the field. These investigations have involved taxonomically diverse bacteria and fungi, including a mix of model organisms which provide high tractability and resources for experimental work, and non-model organisms from dryland environments. This mix has provided fundamental knowledge on the mechanisms employed by bacteria and fungi to sense and respond to one another using model BFIs, while enabling continued investigations into the diversity of these mechanisms in natural systems through the use of non-model BFIs. Furthermore, this approach allows the assessment of how BFI may be altered over evolutionary time or as a result of changes in their environment. This poster will highlight several of the most substantial results and provide perspective on integrating results from multiple investigations to gain a more complete understanding of how and why BFIs occur and potential impacts of BFIs on microbiome dynamics and function.


Robinson, A. J., et al. 2021. “Widespread Bacterial Diversity Within the Bacteriome of Fungi,” Communications Biology 4(1), 1168.

Funding Information

This research was supported by an SFA Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program, Biological Systems Science Division (BSSD) under grant number LANLF59T.