September 22, 2019  |  

Soil drying procedure affects the DNA quantification of Lactarius vinosus but does not change the fungal community composition.

Drying soil samples before DNA extraction is commonly used for specific fungal DNA quantification and metabarcoding studies, but the impact of different drying procedures on both the specific fungal DNA quantity and the fungal community composition has not been analyzed. We tested three different drying procedures (freeze-drying, oven-drying, and room temperature) on 12 different soil samples to determine (a) the soil mycelium biomass of the ectomycorrhizal species Lactarius vinosus using qPCR with a specifically designed TaqMan® probe and (b) the fungal community composition and diversity using the PacBio® RS II sequencing platform. Mycelium biomass of L. vinosus was significantly greater in the freeze-dried soil samples than in samples dried at oven and room temperature. However, drying procedures had no effect on fungal community composition or on fungal diversity. In addition, there were no significant differences in the proportions of fungi according to their functional roles (moulds vs. mycorrhizal species) in response to drying procedures. Only six out of 1139 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) had increased their relative proportions after soil drying at room temperature, with five of these OTUs classified as mould or yeast species. However, the magnitude of these changes was small, with an overall increase in relative abundance of these OTUs of approximately 2 %. These results suggest that DNA degradation may occur especially after drying soil samples at room temperature, but affecting equally nearly all fungi and therefore causing no significant differences in diversity and community composition. Despite the minimal effects caused by the drying procedures at the fungal community composition, freeze-drying resulted in higher concentrations of L. vinosus DNA and prevented potential colonization from opportunistic species.


September 22, 2019  |  

The dynamic landscape of fission yeast meiosis alternative-splice isoforms.

Alternative splicing increases the diversity of transcriptomes and proteomes in metazoans. The extent to which alternative splicing is active and functional in unicellular organisms is less understood. Here, we exploit a single-molecule long-read sequencing technique and develop an open-source software program called SpliceHunter to characterize the transcriptome in the meiosis of fission yeast. We reveal 14,353 alternative splicing events in 17,669 novel isoforms at different stages of meiosis, including antisense and read-through transcripts. Intron retention is the major type of alternative splicing, followed by alternate “intron in exon.” Seven hundred seventy novel transcription units are detected; 53 of the predicted proteins show homology in other species and form theoretical stable structures. We report the complexity of alternative splicing along isoforms, including 683 intra-molecularly co-associated intron pairs. We compare the dynamics of novel isoforms based on the number of supporting full-length reads with those of annotated isoforms and explore the translational capacity and quality of novel isoforms. The evaluation of these factors indicates that the majority of novel isoforms are unlikely to be both condition-specific and translatable but consistent with the possibility of biologically functional novel isoforms. Moreover, the co-option of these unusual transcripts into newly born genes seems likely. Together, the results of this study highlight the diversity and dynamics at the isoform level in the sexual development of fission yeast. © 2017 Kuang et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

A high-resolution genetic map of the cereal crown rot pathogen Fusarium pseudograminearum provides a near-complete genome assembly.

Fusarium pseudograminearum is an important pathogen of wheat and barley, particularly in semi-arid environments. Previous genome assemblies for this organism were based entirely on short read data and are highly fragmented. In this work, a genetic map of F. pseudograminearum has been constructed for the first time based on a mapping population of 178 individuals. The genetic map, together with long read scaffolding of a short read-based genome assembly, was used to give a near-complete assembly of the four F. pseudograminearum chromosomes. Large regions of synteny between F. pseudograminearum and F. graminearum, the related pathogen that is the primary causal agent of cereal head blight disease, were previously proposed in the core conserved genome, but the construction of a genetic map to order and orient contigs is critical to the validation of synteny and the placing of species-specific regions. Indeed, our comparative analyses of the genomes of these two related pathogens suggest that rearrangements in the F. pseudograminearum genome have occurred in the chromosome ends. One of these rearrangements includes the transposition of an entire gene cluster involved in the detoxification of the benzoxazolinone (BOA) class of plant phytoalexins. This work provides an important genomic and genetic resource for F. pseudograminearum, which is less well characterized than F. graminearum. In addition, this study provides new insights into a better understanding of the sexual reproduction process in F. pseudograminearum, which informs us of the potential of this pathogen to evolve.© 2016 BSPP AND JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.


September 21, 2019  |  

Phased diploid genome assembly with single-molecule real-time sequencing.

While genome assembly projects have been successful in many haploid and inbred species, the assembly of noninbred or rearranged heterozygous genomes remains a major challenge. To address this challenge, we introduce the open-source FALCON and FALCON-Unzip algorithms (https://github.com/PacificBiosciences/FALCON/) to assemble long-read sequencing data into highly accurate, contiguous, and correctly phased diploid genomes. We generate new reference sequences for heterozygous samples including an F1 hybrid of Arabidopsis thaliana, the widely cultivated Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon, and the coral fungus Clavicorona pyxidata, samples that have challenged short-read assembly approaches. The FALCON-based assemblies are substantially more contiguous and complete than alternate short- or long-read approaches. The phased diploid assembly enabled the study of haplotype structure and heterozygosities between homologous chromosomes, including the identification of widespread heterozygous structural variation within coding sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

Shared signatures of parasitism and phylogenomics unite Cryptomycota and microsporidia.

Fungi grow within their food, externally digesting it and absorbing nutrients across a semirigid chitinous cell wall. Members of the new phylum Cryptomycota were proposed to represent intermediate fungal forms, lacking a chitinous cell wall during feeding and known almost exclusively from ubiquitous environmental ribosomal RNA sequences that cluster at the base of the fungal tree [1, 2]. Here, we sequence the first Cryptomycotan genome (the water mold endoparasite Rozella allomycis) and unite the Cryptomycota with another group of endoparasites, the microsporidia, based on phylogenomics and shared genomic traits. We propose that Cryptomycota and microsporidia share a common endoparasitic ancestor, with the clade unified by a chitinous cell wall used to develop turgor pressure in the infection process [3, 4]. Shared genomic elements include a nucleotide transporter that is used by microsporidia for stealing energy in the form of ATP from their hosts [5]. Rozella harbors a mitochondrion that contains a very rapidly evolving genome and lacks complex I of the respiratory chain. These degenerate features are offset by the presence of nuclear genes for alternative respiratory pathways. The Rozella proteome has not undergone major contraction like microsporidia; instead, several classes have undergone expansion, such as host-effector, signal-transduction, and folding proteins. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae.

Sex chromosomes in plants and animals and fungal mating-type chromosomes often show exceptional genome features, with extensive suppression of homologous recombination and cytological differentiation between members of the diploid chromosome pair. Despite strong interest in the genetics of these chromosomes, their large regions of suppressed recombination often are enriched in transposable elements and therefore can be challenging to assemble. Here we show that the latest improvements of the PacBio sequencing yield assembly of the whole genome of the anther-smut fungus, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (the pathogenic fungus causing anther-smut disease of Silene latifolia), into finished chromosomes or chromosome arms, even for the repeat-rich mating-type chromosomes and centromeres. Suppressed recombination of the mating-type chromosomes is revealed to span nearly 90% of their lengths, with extreme levels of rearrangements, transposable element accumulation, and differentiation between the two mating types. We observed no correlation between allelic divergence and physical position in the nonrecombining regions of the mating-type chromosomes. This may result from gene conversion or from rearrangements of ancient evolutionary strata, i.e., successive steps of suppressed recombination. Centromeres were found to be composed mainly of copia-like transposable elements and to possess specific minisatellite repeats identical between the different chromosomes. We also identified subtelomeric motifs. In addition, extensive signs of degeneration were detected in the nonrecombining regions in the form of transposable element accumulation and of hundreds of gene losses on each mating-type chromosome. Furthermore, our study highlights the potential of the latest breakthrough PacBio chemistry to resolve complex genome architectures. Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.


July 19, 2019  |  

Population structure of mitochondrial genomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Rigorous study of mitochondrial functions and cell biology in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has advanced our understanding of mitochondrial genetics. This yeast is now a powerful model for population genetics, owing to large genetic diversity and highly structured populations among wild isolates. Comparative mitochondrial genomic analyses between yeast species have revealed broad evolutionary changes in genome organization and architecture. A fine-scale view of recent evolutionary changes within S. cerevisiae has not been possible due to low numbers of complete mitochondrial sequences.To address challenges of sequencing AT-rich and repetitive mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs), we sequenced two divergent S. cerevisiae mtDNAs using a single-molecule sequencing platform (PacBio RS). Using de novo assemblies, we generated highly accurate complete mtDNA sequences. These mtDNA sequences were compared with 98 additional mtDNA sequences gathered from various published collections. Phylogenies based on mitochondrial coding sequences and intron profiles revealed that intraspecific diversity in mitochondrial genomes generally recapitulated the population structure of nuclear genomes. Analysis of intergenic sequence indicated a recent expansion of mobile elements in certain populations. Additionally, our analyses revealed that certain populations lacked introns previously believed conserved throughout the species, as well as the presence of introns never before reported in S. cerevisiae.Our results revealed that the extensive variation in S. cerevisiae mtDNAs is often population specific, thus offering a window into the recent evolutionary processes shaping these genomes. In addition, we offer an effective strategy for sequencing these challenging AT-rich mitochondrial genomes for small scale projects.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Sporisorium scitamineum and biotrophic interaction transcriptome with sugarcane.

Sporisorium scitamineum is a biotrophic fungus responsible for the sugarcane smut, a worldwide spread disease. This study provides the complete sequence of individual chromosomes of S. scitamineum from telomere to telomere achieved by a combination of PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sequence data, as well as a draft sequence of a second fungal strain. Comparative analysis to previous available sequences of another strain detected few polymorphisms among the three genomes. The novel complete sequence described herein allowed us to identify and annotate extended subtelomeric regions, repetitive elements and the mitochondrial DNA sequence. The genome comprises 19,979,571 bases, 6,677 genes encoding proteins, 111 tRNAs and 3 assembled copies of rDNA, out of our estimated number of copies as 130. Chromosomal reorganizations were detected when comparing to sequences of S. reilianum, the closest smut relative, potentially influenced by repeats of transposable elements. Repetitive elements may have also directed the linkage of the two mating-type loci. The fungal transcriptome profiling from in vitro and from interaction with sugarcane at two time points (early infection and whip emergence) revealed that 13.5% of the genes were differentially expressed in planta and particular to each developmental stage. Among them are plant cell wall degrading enzymes, proteases, lipases, chitin modification and lignin degradation enzymes, sugar transporters and transcriptional factors. The fungus also modulates transcription of genes related to surviving against reactive oxygen species and other toxic metabolites produced by the plant. Previously described effectors in smut/plant interactions were detected but some new candidates are proposed. Ten genomic islands harboring some of the candidate genes unique to S. scitamineum were expressed only in planta. RNAseq data was also used to reassure gene predictions.


July 19, 2019  |  

TAL effectors and activation of predicted host targets distinguish Asian from African strains of the rice pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola while strict conservation suggests universal importance of five TAL effectors.

Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc) causes the increasingly important disease bacterial leaf streak of rice (BLS) in part by type III delivery of repeat-rich transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors to upregulate host susceptibility genes. By pathogen whole genome, single molecule, real-time sequencing and host RNA sequencing, we compared TAL effector content and rice transcriptional responses across 10 geographically diverse Xoc strains. TAL effector content is surprisingly conserved overall, yet distinguishes Asian from African isolates. Five TAL effectors are conserved across all strains. In a prior laboratory assay in rice cv. Nipponbare, only two contributed to virulence in strain BLS256 but the strict conservation indicates all five may be important, in different rice genotypes or in the field. Concatenated and aligned, TAL effector content across strains largely reflects relationships based on housekeeping genes, suggesting predominantly vertical transmission. Rice transcriptional responses did not reflect these relationships, and on average, only 28% of genes upregulated and 22% of genes downregulated by a strain are up- and down- regulated (respectively) by all strains. However, when only known TAL effector targets were considered, the relationships resembled those of the TAL effectors. Toward identifying new targets, we used the TAL effector-DNA recognition code to predict effector binding elements in promoters of genes upregulated by each strain, but found that for every strain, all upregulated genes had at least one. Filtering with a classifier we developed previously decreases the number of predicted binding elements across the genome, suggesting that it may reduce false positives among upregulated genes. Applying this filter and eliminating genes for which upregulation did not strictly correlate with presence of the corresponding TAL effector, we generated testable numbers of candidate targets for four of the five strictly conserved TAL effectors.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing combined with optical mapping yields completely finished fungal genome.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have increased the scalability, speed, and resolution of genomic sequencing and, thus, have revolutionized genomic studies. However, eukaryotic genome sequencing initiatives typically yield considerably fragmented genome assemblies. Here, we assessed various state-of-the-art sequencing and assembly strategies in order to produce a contiguous and complete eukaryotic genome assembly, focusing on the filamentous fungus Verticillium dahliae. Compared with Illumina-based assemblies of the V. dahliae genome, hybrid assemblies that also include PacBio-generated long reads establish superior contiguity. Intriguingly, provided that sufficient sequence depth is reached, assemblies solely based on PacBio reads outperform hybrid assemblies and even result in fully assembled chromosomes. Furthermore, the addition of optical map data allowed us to produce a gapless and complete V. dahliae genome assembly of the expected eight chromosomes from telomere to telomere. Consequently, we can now study genomic regions that were previously not assembled or poorly assembled, including regions that are populated by repetitive sequences, such as transposons, allowing us to fully appreciate an organism’s biological complexity. Our data show that a combination of PacBio-generated long reads and optical mapping can be used to generate complete and gapless assemblies of fungal genomes.Studying whole-genome sequences has become an important aspect of biological research. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has nowadays brought genomic science within reach of most research laboratories, including those that study nonmodel organisms. However, most genome sequencing initiatives typically yield (highly) fragmented genome assemblies. Nevertheless, considerable relevant information related to genome structure and evolution is likely hidden in those nonassembled regions. Here, we investigated a diverse set of strategies to obtain gapless genome assemblies, using the genome of a typical ascomycete fungus as the template. Eventually, we were able to show that a combination of PacBio-generated long reads and optical mapping yields a gapless telomere-to-telomere genome assembly, allowing in-depth genome analyses to facilitate functional studies into an organism’s biology. Copyright © 2015 Faino et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Mind the gap; seven reasons to close fragmented genome assemblies.

Like other domains of life, research into the biology of filamentous microbes has greatly benefited from the advent of whole-genome sequencing. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have revolutionized sequencing, making genomic sciences accessible to many academic laboratories including those that study non-model organisms. Thus, hundreds of fungal genomes have been sequenced and are publically available today, although these initiatives have typically yielded considerably fragmented genome assemblies that often lack large contiguous genomic regions. Many important genomic features are contained in intergenic DNA that is often missing in current genome assemblies, and recent studies underscore the significance of non-coding regions and repetitive elements for the life style, adaptability and evolution of many organisms. The study of particular types of genetic elements, such as telomeres, centromeres, repetitive elements, effectors, and clusters of co-regulated genes, but also of phenomena such as structural rearrangements, genome compartmentalization and epigenetics, greatly benefits from having a contiguous and high-quality, preferably even complete and gapless, genome assembly. Here we discuss a number of important reasons to produce gapless, finished, genome assemblies to help answer important biological questions. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT RenSeq protocol

R gene enrichment and Sequencing (RenSeq, Jupe et al. 2013) is a genome complexity reduction method which allows to enrich for nucleotide-binding, leucine reach repeat (NLR) type plant disease resistance genes prior to sequencing. RenSeq was established and successfully used with Illumina platforms (Jupe et al. 2013, Andolfo et al. 2014), however the repetitive nature of NLR genes hampered de novo assembly of this family. Here we describe a protocol which enables to prepare long enriched libraries that are suitable for Pacific Biosciences Single-Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing. Reads Of Inserts (ROI) generated with this protocol are around 3-4 kb in length (longer than the average NLR sequence). These long reads are especially well suited for de novo assembly of whole NLR genes including their regulatory elements


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  |  

Condition-dependent co-regulation of genomic clusters of virulence factors in the grapevine trunk pathogen Neofusicoccum parvum.

The ascomycete Neofusicoccum parvum, one of the causal agents of Botryosphaeria dieback, is a destructive wood-infecting fungus and a serious threat to grape production worldwide. The capability to colonize woody tissue, combined with the secretion of phytotoxic compounds, is thought to underlie its pathogenicity and virulence. Here, we describe the repertoire of virulence factors and their transcriptional dynamics as the fungus feeds on different substrates and colonizes the woody stem. We assembled and annotated a highly contiguous genome using single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing. Transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing determined the genome-wide patterns of expression of virulence factors both in vitro (potato dextrose agar or medium amended with grape wood as substrate) and in planta. Pairwise statistical testing of differential expression, followed by co-expression network analysis, revealed that physically clustered genes coding for putative virulence functions were induced depending on the substrate or stage of plant infection. Co-expressed gene clusters were significantly enriched not only in genes associated with secondary metabolism, but also in those associated with cell wall degradation, suggesting that dynamic co-regulation of transcriptional networks contributes to multiple aspects of N. parvum virulence. In most of the co-expressed clusters, all genes shared at least a common motif in their promoter region, indicative of co-regulation by the same transcription factor. Co-expression analysis also identified chromatin regulators with correlated expression with inducible clusters of virulence factors, suggesting a complex, multi-layered regulation of the virulence repertoire of N. parvum.© 2016 BSPP AND JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.


July 19, 2019  |  

Widespread adenine N6-methylation of active genes in fungi.

N6-methyldeoxyadenine (6mA) is a noncanonical DNA base modification present at low levels in plant and animal genomes, but its prevalence and association with genome function in other eukaryotic lineages remains poorly understood. Here we report that abundant 6mA is associated with transcriptionally active genes in early-diverging fungal lineages. Using single-molecule long-read sequencing of 16 diverse fungal genomes, we observed that up to 2.8% of all adenines were methylated in early-diverging fungi, far exceeding levels observed in other eukaryotes and more derived fungi. 6mA occurred symmetrically at ApT dinucleotides and was concentrated in dense methylated adenine clusters surrounding the transcriptional start sites of expressed genes; its distribution was inversely correlated with that of 5-methylcytosine. Our results show a striking contrast in the genomic distributions of 6mA and 5-methylcytosine and reinforce a distinct role for 6mA as a gene-expression-associated epigenomic mark in eukaryotes.


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