April 21, 2020  |  

Infection mechanisms and putative effector repertoire of the mosquito pathogenic oomycete Pythium guiyangense uncovered by genomic analysis.

Pythium guiyangense, an oomycete from a genus of mostly plant pathogens, is an effective biological control agent that has wide potential to manage diverse mosquitoes. However, its mosquito-killing mechanisms are almost unknown. In this study, we observed that P. guiyangense could utilize cuticle penetration and ingestion of mycelia into the digestive system to infect mosquito larvae. To explore pathogenic mechanisms, a high-quality genome sequence with 239 contigs and an N50 contig length of 1,009 kb was generated. The genome assembly is approximately 110 Mb, which is almost twice the size of other sequenced Pythium genomes. Further genome analysis suggests that P. guiyangense may arise from a hybridization of two related but distinct parental species. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that P. guiyangense likely evolved from common ancestors shared with plant pathogens. Comparative genome analysis coupled with transcriptome sequencing data suggested that P. guiyangense may employ multiple virulence mechanisms to infect mosquitoes, including secreted proteases and kazal-type protease inhibitors. It also shares intracellular Crinkler (CRN) effectors used by plant pathogenic oomycetes to facilitate the colonization of plant hosts. Our experimental evidence demonstrates that CRN effectors of P. guiyangense can be toxic to insect cells. The infection mechanisms and putative virulence effectors of P. guiyangense uncovered by this study provide the basis to develop improved mosquito control strategies. These data also provide useful knowledge on host adaptation and evolution of the entomopathogenic lifestyle within the oomycete lineage. A deeper understanding of the biology of P. guiyangense effectors might also be useful for management of other important agricultural pests.

September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly of a Chinese soybean genome.

Soybean was domesticated in China and has become one of the most important oilseed crops. Due to bottlenecks in their introduction and dissemination, soybeans from different geographic areas exhibit extensive genetic diversity. Asia is the largest soybean market; therefore, a high-quality soybean reference genome from this area is critical for soybean research and breeding. Here, we report the de novo assembly and sequence analysis of a Chinese soybean genome for “Zhonghuang 13” by a combination of SMRT, Hi-C and optical mapping data. The assembled genome size is 1.025 Gb with a contig N50 of 3.46 Mb and a scaffold N50 of 51.87 Mb. Comparisons between this genome and the previously reported reference genome (cv. Williams 82) uncovered more than 250,000 structure variations. A total of 52,051 protein coding genes and 36,429 transposable elements were annotated for this genome, and a gene co-expression network including 39,967 genes was also established. This high quality Chinese soybean genome and its sequence analysis will provide valuable information for soybean improvement in the future.

September 22, 2019  |  

The genomic and functional landscapes of developmental plasticity in the American cockroach.

Many cockroach species have adapted to urban environments, and some have been serious pests of public health in the tropics and subtropics. Here, we present the 3.38-Gb genome and a consensus gene set of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. We report insights from both genomic and functional investigations into the underlying basis of its adaptation to urban environments and developmental plasticity. In comparison with other insects, expansions of gene families in P. americana exist for most core gene families likely associated with environmental adaptation, such as chemoreception and detoxification. Multiple pathways regulating metamorphic development are well conserved, and RNAi experiments inform on key roles of 20-hydroxyecdysone, juvenile hormone, insulin, and decapentaplegic signals in regulating plasticity. Our analyses reveal a high level of sequence identity in genes between the American cockroach and two termite species, advancing it as a valuable model to study the evolutionary relationships between cockroaches and termites.

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