April 21, 2020  |  

Relative Performance of MinION (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) versus Sequel (Pacific Biosciences) Third-Generation Sequencing Instruments in Identification of Agricultural and Forest Fungal Pathogens.

Culture-based molecular identification methods have revolutionized detection of pathogens, yet these methods are slow and may yield inconclusive results from environmental materials. The second-generation sequencing tools have much-improved precision and sensitivity of detection, but these analyses are costly and may take several days to months. Of the third-generation sequencing techniques, the portable MinION device (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) has received much attention because of its small size and possibility of rapid analysis at reasonable cost. Here, we compare the relative performances of two third-generation sequencing instruments, MinION and Sequel (Pacific Biosciences), in identification and diagnostics of fungal and oomycete pathogens from conifer (Pinaceae) needles and potato (Solanum tuberosum) leaves and tubers. We demonstrate that the Sequel instrument is efficient for metabarcoding of complex samples, whereas MinION is not suited for this purpose due to a high error rate and multiple biases. However, we find that MinION can be utilized for rapid and accurate identification of dominant pathogenic organisms and other associated organisms from plant tissues following both amplicon-based and PCR-free metagenomics approaches. Using the metagenomics approach with shortened DNA extraction and incubation times, we performed the entire MinION workflow, from sample preparation through DNA extraction, sequencing, bioinformatics, and interpretation, in 2.5 h. We advocate the use of MinION for rapid diagnostics of pathogens and potentially other organisms, but care needs to be taken to control or account for multiple potential technical biases.IMPORTANCE Microbial pathogens cause enormous losses to agriculture and forestry, but current combined culturing- and molecular identification-based detection methods are too slow for rapid identification and application of countermeasures. Here, we develop new and rapid protocols for Oxford Nanopore MinION-based third-generation diagnostics of plant pathogens that greatly improve the speed of diagnostics. However, due to high error rate and technical biases in MinION, the Pacific BioSciences Sequel platform is more useful for in-depth amplicon-based biodiversity monitoring (metabarcoding) from complex environmental samples.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

First Draft Genome Sequence of a Pearl Millet Blast Pathogen, Magnaporthe grisea Strain PMg_Dl, Obtained Using PacBio Single-Molecule Real-Time and Illumina NextSeq 500 Sequencing.

The first draft genome sequence of the pearl millet blast pathogen Magnaporthe grisea PMg_Dl from India is presented. The genome information of M. grisea will be useful to understand the Magnaporthe speciation, genetic diversity, environmental adaptation, and pathogenic and host range determinants.Copyright © 2019 Prakash et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Sequence of a California Isolate of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici Race 3, a Fungus Causing Wilt Disease on Tomato.

Fusarium wilt of tomato, caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, is an increasingly important disease of tomato. This paper reports the high-quality draft genome assembly of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici isolate D11 (race 3), which consists of 39 scaffolds with 57,281,978?bp (GC content, 47.5%), an N50 of 4,408,267?bp, a mean read coverage of 99.8×, and 17,682 predicted genes. Copyright © 2019 Henry et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transposable Elements Adaptive Role in Genome Plasticity, Pathogenicity and Evolution in Fungal Phytopathogens.

Transposable elements (TEs) are agents of genetic variability in phytopathogens as they are a source of adaptive evolution through genome diversification. Although many studies have uncovered information on TEs, the exact mechanism behind TE-induced changes within the genome remains poorly understood. Furthermore, convergent trends towards bigger genomes, emergence of novel genes and gain or loss of genes implicate a TE-regulated genome plasticity of fungal phytopathogens. TEs are able to alter gene expression by revamping the cis-regulatory elements or recruiting epigenetic control. Recent findings show that TEs recruit epigenetic control on the expression of effector genes as part of the coordinated infection strategy. In addition to genome plasticity and diversity, fungal pathogenicity is an area of economic concern. A survey of TE distribution suggests that their proximity to pathogenicity genes TEs may act as sites for emergence of novel pathogenicity factors via nucleotide changes and expansion or reduction of the gene family. Through a systematic survey of literature, we were able to conclude that the role of TEs in fungi is wide: ranging from genome plasticity, pathogenicity to adaptive behavior in evolution. This review also identifies the gaps in knowledge that requires further elucidation for a better understanding of TEs’ contribution to genome architecture and versatility.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Diversity and Recombination among Xylella fastidiosa Subspecies.

Xylella fastidiosa is an economically important bacterial plant pathogen. With insights gained from 72 genomes, this study investigated differences among the three main subspecies, which have allopatric origins: X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa, multiplex, and pauca The origin of recombinogenic X. fastidiosa subsp. morus and sandyi was also assessed. The evolutionary rate of the 622 genes of the species core genome was estimated at the scale of an X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca subclade (7.62?×?10-7 substitutions per site per year), which was subsequently used to estimate divergence time for the subspecies and introduction events. The study characterized genes present in the accessory genome of each of the three subspecies and investigated the core genome to detect genes potentially under positive selection. Recombination is recognized to be the major driver of diversity in X. fastidiosa, potentially facilitating shifts to novel plant hosts. The relative effect of recombination in comparison to point mutation was calculated (r/m?=?2.259). Evidence of recombination was uncovered in the core genome alignment; X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa in the United States was less prone to recombination, with an average of 3.22 of the 622 core genes identified as recombining regions, whereas a specific clade of X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex was found to have on average 9.60 recombining genes, 93.2% of which originated from X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa Interestingly, for X. fastidiosa subsp. morus, which was initially thought to be the outcome of genome-wide recombination between X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa and X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex, intersubspecies homologous recombination levels reached 15.30% in the core genome. Finally, there is evidence of X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca strains from citrus containing genetic elements acquired from strains infecting coffee plants as well as genetic elements from both X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa and X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex In summary, our data provide new insights into the evolution and epidemiology of this plant pathogen.IMPORTANCEXylella fastidiosa is an important vector-borne plant pathogen. We used a set of 72 genomes that constitutes the largest assembled data set for this bacterial species so far to investigate genetic relationships and the impact of recombination on phylogenetic clades and to compare genome content at the subspecies level, and we used a molecular dating approach to infer the evolutionary rate of X. fastidiosa The results demonstrate that recombination is important in shaping the genomes of X. fastidiosa and that each of the main subspecies is under different selective pressures. We hope insights from this study will improve our understanding of X. fastidiosa evolution and biology.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Spiroplasma phoeniceum Strain P40T, a Plant Pathogen Isolated from Diseased Plants of Madagascar Periwinkle [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don].

The phytopathogen Spiroplasma phoeniceum was isolated from diseased plants of Madagascar periwinkle [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don]. Here, we report the nucleotide sequence of the 1,791,576-bp circular chromosome and three plasmids of strain P40T This information serves as a resource for comparative analyses of spiroplasmal adaptations to diverse ecological niches.


April 21, 2020  |  

Survey of the Bradysia odoriphaga Transcriptome Using PacBio Single-Molecule Long-Read Sequencing.

The damage caused by Bradysia odoriphaga is the main factor threatening the production of vegetables in the Liliaceae family. However, few genetic studies of B. odoriphaga have been conducted because of a lack of genomic resources. Many long-read sequencing technologies have been developed in the last decade; therefore, in this study, the transcriptome including all development stages of B. odoriphaga was sequenced for the first time by Pacific single-molecule long-read sequencing. Here, 39,129 isoforms were generated, and 35,645 were found to have annotation results when checked against sequences available in different databases. Overall, 18,473 isoforms were distributed in 25 various Clusters of Orthologous Groups, and 11,880 isoforms were categorized into 60 functional groups that belonged to the three main Gene Ontology classifications. Moreover, 30,610 isoforms were assigned into 44 functional categories belonging to six main Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes functional categories. Coding DNA sequence (CDS) prediction showed that 36,419 out of 39,129 isoforms were predicted to have CDS, and 4319 simple sequence repeats were detected in total. Finally, 266 insecticide resistance and metabolism-related isoforms were identified as candidate genes for further investigation of insecticide resistance and metabolism in B. odoriphaga.


April 21, 2020  |  

Cellular Dynamics and Genomic Identity of Centromeres in Cereal Blast Fungus.

Precise kinetochore-microtubule interactions ensure faithful chromosome segregation in eukaryotes. Centromeres, identified as scaffolding sites for kinetochore assembly, are among the most rapidly evolving chromosomal loci in terms of the DNA sequence and length and organization of intrinsic elements. Neither the centromere structure nor the kinetochore dynamics is well studied in plant-pathogenic fungi. Here, we sought to understand the process of chromosome segregation in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae High-resolution imaging of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged inner kinetochore proteins CenpA and CenpC revealed unusual albeit transient declustering of centromeres just before anaphase separation of chromosomes in M. oryzae Strikingly, the declustered centromeres positioned randomly at the spindle midzone without an apparent metaphase plate per se Using CenpA chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing, all seven centromeres in M. oryzae were found to be regional, spanning 57-kb to 109-kb transcriptionally poor regions. Highly AT-rich and heavily methylated DNA sequences were the only common defining features of all the centromeres in rice blast. Lack of centromere-specific DNA sequence motifs or repetitive elements suggests an epigenetic specification of centromere function in M. oryzae PacBio genome assemblies and synteny analyses facilitated comparison of the centromeric/pericentromeric regions in distinct isolates of rice blast and wheat blast and in Magnaporthiopsis poae Overall, this study revealed unusual centromere dynamics and precisely identified the centromere loci in the top model fungal pathogens that belong to Magnaporthales and cause severe losses in the global production of food crops and turf grasses.IMPORTANCEMagnaporthe oryzae is an important fungal pathogen that causes a loss of 10% to 30% of the annual rice crop due to the devastating blast disease. In most organisms, kinetochores are clustered together or arranged at the metaphase plate to facilitate synchronized anaphase separation of sister chromatids in mitosis. In this study, we showed that the initially clustered kinetochores separate and position randomly prior to anaphase in M. oryzae Centromeres in M. oryzae occupy large genomic regions and form on AT-rich DNA without any common sequence motifs. Overall, this study identified atypical kinetochore dynamics and mapped functional centromeres in M. oryzae to define the roles of centromeric and pericentric boundaries in kinetochore assembly on epigenetically specified centromere loci. This study should pave the way for further understanding of the contribution of heterochromatin in genome stability and virulence of the blast fungus and its related species of high economic importance.Copyright © 2019 Yadav et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Sequencing of Cladobotryum protrusum Provides Insights into the Evolution and Pathogenic Mechanisms of the Cobweb Disease Pathogen on Cultivated Mushroom.

Cladobotryum protrusum is one of the mycoparasites that cause cobweb disease on cultivated edible mushrooms. However, the molecular mechanisms of evolution and pathogenesis of C. protrusum on mushrooms are largely unknown. Here, we report a high-quality genome sequence of C. protrusum using the single-molecule, real-time sequencing platform of PacBio and perform a comparative analysis with closely related fungi in the family Hypocreaceae. The C. protrusum genome, the first complete genome to be sequenced in the genus Cladobotryum, is 39.09 Mb long, with an N50 of 4.97 Mb, encoding 11,003 proteins. The phylogenomic analysis confirmed its inclusion in Hypocreaceae, with its evolutionary divergence time estimated to be ~170.1 million years ago. The genome encodes a large and diverse set of genes involved in secreted peptidases, carbohydrate-active enzymes, cytochrome P450 enzymes, pathogen?host interactions, mycotoxins, and pigments. Moreover, C. protrusum harbors arrays of genes with the potential to produce bioactive secondary metabolites and stress response-related proteins that are significant for adaptation to hostile environments. Knowledge of the genome will foster a better understanding of the biology of C. protrusum and mycoparasitism in general, as well as help with the development of effective disease control strategies to minimize economic losses from cobweb disease in cultivated edible mushrooms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic analysis of bacteria in the Acute Oak Decline pathobiome.

The UK’s native oak is under serious threat from Acute Oak Decline (AOD). Stem tissue necrosis is a primary symptom of AOD and several bacteria are associated with necrotic lesions. Two members of the lesion pathobiome, Brenneria goodwinii and Gibbsiella quercinecans, have been identified as causative agents of tissue necrosis. However, additional bacteria including Lonsdalea britannica and Rahnella species have been detected in the lesion microbiome, but their role in tissue degradation is unclear. Consequently, information on potential genome-encoded mechanisms for tissue necrosis is critical to understand the role and mechanisms used by bacterial members of the lesion pathobiome in the aetiology of AOD. Here, the whole genomes of bacteria isolated from AOD-affected trees were sequenced, annotated and compared against canonical bacterial phytopathogens and non-pathogenic symbionts. Using orthologous gene inference methods, shared virulence genes that retain the same function were identified. Furthermore, functional annotation of phytopathogenic virulence genes demonstrated that all studied members of the AOD lesion microbiota possessed genes associated with phytopathogens. However, the genome of B. goodwinii was the most characteristic of a necrogenic phytopathogen, corroborating previous pathological and metatranscriptomic studies that implicate it as the key causal agent of AOD lesions. Furthermore, we investigated the genome sequences of other AOD lesion microbiota to understand the potential ability of microbes to cause disease or contribute to pathogenic potential of organisms isolated from this complex pathobiome. The role of these members remains uncertain but some such as G. quercinecans may contribute to tissue necrosis through the release of necrotizing enzymes and may help more dangerous pathogens activate and realize their pathogenic potential or they may contribute as secondary/opportunistic pathogens with the potential to act as accessory species for B. goodwinii. We demonstrate that in combination with ecological data, whole genome sequencing provides key insights into the pathogenic potential of bacterial species whether they be phytopathogens, part-contributors or stimulators of the pathobiome.


April 21, 2020  |  

Effector gene reshuffling involves dispensable mini-chromosomes in the wheat blast fungus.

Newly emerged wheat blast disease is a serious threat to global wheat production. Wheat blast is caused by a distinct, exceptionally diverse lineage of the fungus causing rice blast disease. Through sequencing a recent field isolate, we report a reference genome that includes seven core chromosomes and mini-chromosome sequences that harbor effector genes normally found on ends of core chromosomes in other strains. No mini-chromosomes were observed in an early field strain, and at least two from another isolate each contain different effector genes and core chromosome end sequences. The mini-chromosome is enriched in transposons occurring most frequently at core chromosome ends. Additionally, transposons in mini-chromosomes lack the characteristic signature for inactivation by repeat-induced point (RIP) mutation genome defenses. Our results, collectively, indicate that dispensable mini-chromosomes and core chromosomes undergo divergent evolutionary trajectories, and mini-chromosomes and core chromosome ends are coupled as a mobile, fast-evolving effector compartment in the wheat pathogen genome.


April 21, 2020  |  

Estimating the Fitness Effect of Deleterious Mutations During the Two Phases of the Life Cycle: A New Method Applied to the Root-Rot Fungus Heterobasidion parviporum.

Many eukaryote species, including taxa such as fungi or algae, have a lifecycle with substantial haploid and diploid phases. A recent theoretical model predicts that such haploid-diploid lifecycles are stable over long evolutionary time scales when segregating deleterious mutations have stronger effects in homozygous diploids than in haploids and when they are partially recessive in heterozygous diploids. The model predicts that effective dominance-a measure that accounts for these two effects-should be close to 0.5 in these species. It also predicts that diploids should have higher fitness than haploids on average. However, an appropriate statistical framework to conjointly investigate these predictions is currently lacking. In this study, we derive a new quantitative genetic model to test these predictions using fitness data of two haploid parents and their diploid offspring, and genome-wide genetic distance between haploid parents. We apply this model to the root-rot basidiomycete fungus Heterobasidion parviporum-a species where the heterokaryotic (equivalent to the diploid) phase is longer than the homokaryotic (haploid) phase. We measured two fitness-related traits (mycelium growth rate and the ability to degrade wood) in both homokaryons and heterokaryons, and we used whole-genome sequencing to estimate nuclear genetic distance between parents. Possibly due to a lack of power, we did not find that deleterious mutations were recessive or more deleterious when expressed during the heterokaryotic phase. Using this model to compare effective dominance among haploid-diploid species where the relative importance of the two phases varies should help better understand the evolution of haploid-diploid life cycles. Copyright © 2019 by the Genetics Society of America.


April 21, 2020  |  

A High-Quality Grapevine Downy Mildew Genome Assembly Reveals Rapidly Evolving and Lineage-Specific Putative Host Adaptation Genes.

Downy mildews are obligate biotrophic oomycete pathogens that cause devastating plant diseases on economically important crops. Plasmopara viticola is the causal agent of grapevine downy mildew, a major disease in vineyards worldwide. We sequenced the genome of Pl. viticola with PacBio long reads and obtained a new 92.94?Mb assembly with high contiguity (359 scaffolds for a N50 of 706.5?kb) due to a better resolution of repeat regions. This assembly presented a high level of gene completeness, recovering 1,592 genes encoding secreted proteins involved in plant-pathogen interactions. Plasmopara viticola had a two-speed genome architecture, with secreted protein-encoding genes preferentially located in gene-sparse, repeat-rich regions and evolving rapidly, as indicated by pairwise dN/dS values. We also used short reads to assemble the genome of Plasmopara muralis, a closely related species infecting grape ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata). The lineage-specific proteins identified by comparative genomics analysis included a large proportion of RxLR cytoplasmic effectors and, more generally, genes with high dN/dS values. We identified 270 candidate genes under positive selection, including several genes encoding transporters and components of the RNA machinery potentially involved in host specialization. Finally, the Pl. viticola genome assembly generated here will allow the development of robust population genomics approaches for investigating the mechanisms involved in adaptation to biotic and abiotic selective pressures in this species. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Extreme resistance to Potato virus Y in potato carrying the Rysto gene is mediated by a TIR-NLR immune receptor.

Potato virus Y (PVY) is a major potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) pathogen that causes severe annual crop losses worth billions of dollars worldwide. PVY is transmitted by aphids, and successful control of virus transmission requires the extensive use of environmentally damaging insecticides to reduce vector populations. Rysto , from the wild relative S. stoloniferum, confers extreme resistance (ER) to PVY and related viruses and is a valuable trait that is widely employed in potato resistance breeding programmes. Rysto was previously mapped to a region of potato chromosome XII, but the specific gene has not been identified to date. In this study, we isolated Rysto using resistance gene enrichment sequencing (RenSeq) and PacBio SMRT (Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time sequencing). Rysto was found to encode a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein with an N-terminal TIR domain and was sufficient for PVY perception and ER in transgenic potato plants. Rysto -dependent extreme resistance was temperature-independent and requires EDS1 and NRG1 proteins. Rysto may prove valuable for creating PVY-resistant cultivars of potato and other Solanaceae crops. © 2019 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic map-guided genome assembly reveals a virulence-governing minichromosome in the lentil anthracnose pathogen Colletotrichum lentis.

Colletotrichum lentis causes anthracnose, which is a serious disease on lentil and can account for up to 70% crop loss. Two pathogenic races, 0 and 1, have been described in the C. lentis population from lentil. To unravel the genetic control of virulence, an isolate of the virulent race 0 was sequenced at 1481-fold genomic coverage. The 56.10-Mb genome assembly consists of 50 scaffolds with N50 scaffold length of 4.89 Mb. A total of 11 436 protein-coding gene models was predicted in the genome with 237 coding candidate effectors, 43 secondary metabolite biosynthetic enzymes and 229 carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), suggesting a contraction of the virulence gene repertoire in C. lentis. Scaffolds were assigned to 10 core and two minichromosomes using a population (race 0 × race 1, n = 94 progeny isolates) sequencing-based, high-density (14 312 single nucleotide polymorphisms) genetic map. Composite interval mapping revealed a single quantitative trait locus (QTL), qClVIR-11, located on minichromosome 11, explaining 85% of the variability in virulence of the C. lentis population. The QTL covers a physical distance of 0.84 Mb with 98 genes, including seven candidate effector and two secondary metabolite genes. Taken together, the study provides genetic and physical evidence for the existence of a minichromosome controlling the C. lentis virulence on lentil. © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.


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