July 19, 2019  |  

Living apart together: crosstalk between the core and supernumerary genomes in a fungal plant pathogen.

Eukaryotes display remarkable genome plasticity, which can include supernumerary chromosomes that differ markedly from the core chromosomes. Despite the widespread occurrence of supernumerary chromosomes in fungi, their origin, relation to the core genome and the reason for their divergent characteristics are still largely unknown. The complexity of genome assembly due to the presence of repetitive DNA partially accounts for this.Here we use single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to assemble the genome of a prominent fungal wheat pathogen, Fusarium poae, including at least one supernumerary chromosome. The core genome contains limited transposable elements (TEs) and no gene duplications, while the supernumerary genome holds up to 25 % TEs and multiple gene duplications. The core genome shows all hallmarks of repeat-induced point mutation (RIP), a defense mechanism against TEs, specific for fungi. The absence of RIP on the supernumerary genome accounts for the differences between the two (sub)genomes, and results in a functional crosstalk between them. The supernumerary genome is a reservoir for TEs that migrate to the core genome, and even large blocks of supernumerary sequence (>200 kb) have recently translocated to the core. Vice versa, the supernumerary genome acts as a refuge for genes that are duplicated from the core genome.For the first time, a mechanism was determined that explains the differences that exist between the core and supernumerary genome in fungi. Different biology rather than origin was shown to be responsible. A “living apart together” crosstalk exists between the core and supernumerary genome, accelerating chromosomal and organismal evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

A mobile pathogenicity chromosome in Fusarium oxysporum for infection of multiple cucurbit species.

The genome of Fusarium oxysporum (Fo) consists of a set of eleven ‘core’ chromosomes, shared by most strains and responsible for housekeeping, and one or several accessory chromosomes. We sequenced a strain of Fo f.sp. radicis-cucumerinum (Forc) using PacBio SMRT sequencing. All but one of the core chromosomes were assembled into single contigs, and a chromosome that shows all the hallmarks of a pathogenicity chromosome comprised two contigs. A central part of this chromosome contains all identified candidate effector genes, including homologs of SIX6, SIX9, SIX11 and SIX 13. We show that SIX6 contributes to virulence of Forc. Through horizontal chromosome transfer (HCT) to a non-pathogenic strain, we also show that the accessory chromosome containing the SIX gene homologs is indeed a pathogenicity chromosome for cucurbit infection. Conversely, complete loss of virulence was observed in Forc016 strains that lost this chromosome. We conclude that also a non-wilt-inducing Fo pathogen relies on effector proteins for successful infection and that the Forc pathogenicity chromosome contains all the information necessary for causing root rot of cucurbits. Three out of nine HCT strains investigated have undergone large-scale chromosome alterations, reflecting the remarkable plasticity of Fo genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

PacBio sequencing reveals transposable element as a key contributor to genomic plasticity and virulence variation in Magnaporthe oryzae.

The sustainable cultivation of rice, which serves as staple food crop for more than half of the world’s population, is under serious threat due to the huge yield losses inflicted by rice blast disease caused by the globally destructive fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (Pyricularia oryzae) (Dean et al., 2012, Nalley et al., 2016, Deng et al., 2017). This filamentous ascomycete fungus is also capable of causing blast infection on other economically important cereal crops, including wheat, millet, and barley, making it the world’s most important plant pathogenic fungus (Zhong et al., 2016). The advent of whole-genome sequencing technology and the subsequent deployment of next-generation sequencing (NGS) strategies have successfully generated genome assemblies for over 50 isolates of M. oryzae, which have played an instrumental role in enhancing our understanding of how rice blast fungus undertakes host adaptation, host specificity, and host range expansion to overcome host resistance (Dean et al., 2005, Xue et al., 2012, Wu et al., 2015, Zhang et al., 2016). However, research findings obtained from comparative genomic studies conducted using the NGS-assembled genome do not present an in-depth account of the genomic features that contribute to the prevailing genomic variations among M. oryzae species, because NGS assemblies are highly fragmented and lack most of the lineage-specific (LS) regions, which are more plastic than the core genome and enriched with repeats and effector proteins (Raffaele and Kamoun, 2012, Faino et al., 2016).


July 7, 2019  |  

First Azospirillum genome from aquatic environments: Whole-genome sequence of Azospirillum thiophilum BV-S(T), a novel diazotroph harboring a capacity of sulfur-chemolithotrophy from a sulfide spring.

Azospirillum thiophilum BV-S(T), isolated from a sulfide spring, is a novel nitrogen-fixing bacterium harboring sulfur-lithotrophy. In order to identify genetic characteristics with habitat- and metabolic features contrasting to those from terrestrial Azospirillum species, we present here the genome sequence of a novel species A. thiophilum BV-S(T), with a significance of first genome report in the aquatic Azospirillum species. The genome of strain BV-S(T) is comprised of 7.6Mb chromosome with a GC content of 68.2%. This information will contribute to expand understandings of sulfur-oxidizer microbes that preserve inherencies as a diazotroph, and further it will provide insights into genome plasticity of the genus Azospirillum for niche specific adaptations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Extensive mobilome-driven genome diversification in mouse gut-associated Bacteroides vulgatus mpk.

Like many other Bacteroides species, Bacteroides vulgatus strain mpk, a mouse fecal isolate which was shown to promote intestinal homeostasis, utilizes a variety of mobile elements for genome evolution. Based on sequences collected by Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing technology, we discuss the challenges of assembling and studying a bacterial genome of high plasticity. Additionally, we conducted comparative genomics comparing this commensal strain with the B. vulgatus type strain ATCC 8482 as well as multiple other Bacteroides and Parabacteroides strains to reveal the most important differences and identify the unique features of B. vulgatus mpk. The genome of B. vulgatus mpk harbors a large and diverse set of mobile element proteins compared with other sequenced Bacteroides strains. We found evidence of a number of different horizontal gene transfer events and a genome landscape that has been extensively altered by different mobilization events. A CRISPR/Cas system could be identified that provides a possible mechanism for preventing the integration of invading external DNA. We propose that the high genome plasticity and the introduced genome instabilities of B. vulgatus mpk arising from the various mobilization events might play an important role not only in its adaptation to the challenging intestinal environment in general, but also in its ability to interact with the gut microbiota.


July 7, 2019  |  

Transposons passively and actively contribute to evolution of the two-speed genome of a fungal pathogen.

Genomic plasticity enables adaptation to changing environments, which is especially relevant for pathogens that engage in “arms races” with their hosts. In many pathogens, genes mediating virulence cluster in highly variable, transposon-rich, physically distinct genomic compartments. However, understanding of the evolution of these compartments, and the role of transposons therein, remains limited. Here, we show that transposons are the major driving force for adaptive genome evolution in the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae We show that highly variable lineage-specific (LS) regions evolved by genomic rearrangements that are mediated by erroneous double-strand repair, often utilizing transposons. We furthermore show that recent genetic duplications are enhanced in LS regions, against an older episode of duplication events. Finally, LS regions are enriched in active transposons, which contribute to local genome plasticity. Thus, we provide evidence for genome shaping by transposons, both in an active and passive manner, which impacts the evolution of pathogen virulence. © 2016 Faino et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


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