April 21, 2020  |  

The mating system of the Eucalyptus canker pathogen Chrysoporthe austroafricana and closely related species.

Fungi in the genus Chrysoporthe are economically important canker pathogens of commercially grown Eucalyptus species and native Myrtales. Before the current study, homothallism was widely accepted as the mating system of these species, but this hypothesis could not be fully tested. Using whole genome sequences, we characterized the MAT locus of two C. austroafricana isolates and its sibling species, C. cubensis and C. deuterocubensis. A unique MAT1-2 idiomorph containing a truncated MAT1-1-1 gene, and a MAT1-1-2 gene, was identified in one isolate of C. austroafricana and a MAT1-1 idiomorph was found in the other. The presence of a single idiomorph in each isolate suggests that this fungus is heterothallic. Screening for MAT genes in 65?C. austroafricana isolates revealed a bias towards MAT1-2 idiomorphs suggesting a recent introduction in Eucalyptus species. Chrysoporthe cubensis and C. deuterocubensis are apparently homothallic since all the expected MAT genes were identified in their genome sequences. These findings were corroborated by the expression profiles of pheromone genes and their receptors, which conformed to the expected patterns observed in heterothallic and homothallic isolates. Long terminal repeat sequences (LTRs) and specifically retrotransposons were identified in the MAT locus of C. deuterocubensis and C. cubensis, indicating that the evolution of mating systems in Chrysoporthe species could be mediated by these elements.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Bioinformatic analysis of the complete genome sequence of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense BZA12 and candidate effector screening

AbstractPectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense (Pcb) is a gram-negative, plant pathogenic bacterium of the soft rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE) family. We present the complete genome sequence of Pcb strain BZA12, which reveals that Pcb strain BZA12 carries a single 4,924,809 bp chromosome with 51.97% GC content and comprises 4508 predicted protein-coding genes.Geneannotationofthese genes utilizedGO, KEGG,and COG databases.Incomparison withthree closely related soft-rot pathogens, strain BZA12 has 3797 gene families, among which 3107 gene families are identified as orthologous with those of both P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum PCC21 and P. carotovorum subsp. odoriferum BCS7, as well as 36 putative Unique Gene Families. We selected five putative effectors from the BZA12 genome and transiently expressed them in Nicotiana benthamiana. Candidate effector A12GL002483 was localized in the cell nucleus and induced cell death. This study provides a foundation for a better understanding of the genomic structure and function of Pcb, particularly in the discovery of potential pathogenic factors and for the development of more effective strategies against this pathogen.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic analysis of the aggressive tree pathogen Ceratocystis albifundus.

The overall goal of this study was to determine whether the genome of an important plant pathogen in Africa, Ceratocystis albifundus, is structured into subgenomic compartments, and if so, to establish how these compartments are distributed across the genome. For this purpose, the publicly available genome of C. albifundus was complemented with the genome sequences for four additional isolates using the Illumina HiSeq platform. In addition, a reference genome for one of the individuals was assembled using both PacBio and Illumina HiSeq technologies. Our results showed a high degree of synteny between the five genomes, although several regions lacked detectable long-range synteny. These regions were associated with the presence of accessory genes, lower genetic similarity, variation in read-map depth, as well as transposable elements and genes associated with host-pathogen interactions (e.g. effectors and CAZymes). Such patterns are regarded as hallmarks of accelerated evolution, particularly of accessory subgenomic compartments in fungal pathogens. Our findings thus showed that the genome of C. albifundus is made-up of core and accessory subgenomic compartments, which is an important step towards characterizing its pangenome. This study also highlights the value of comparative genomics for understanding mechanisms that may underly and influence the biology and evolution of pathogens.Copyright © 2019 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Dynamic virulence-related regions of the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae display enhanced sequence conservation.

Plant pathogens continuously evolve to evade host immune responses. During host colonization, many fungal pathogens secrete effectors to perturb such responses, but these in turn may become recognized by host immune receptors. To facilitate the evolution of effector repertoires, such as the elimination of recognized effectors, effector genes often reside in genomic regions that display increased plasticity, a phenomenon that is captured in the two-speed genome hypothesis. The genome of the vascular wilt fungus Verticillium dahliae displays regions with extensive presence/absence polymorphisms, so-called lineage-specific regions, that are enriched in in planta-induced putative effector genes. As expected, comparative genomics reveals differential degrees of sequence divergence between lineage-specific regions and the core genome. Unanticipated, lineage-specific regions display markedly higher sequence conservation in coding as well as noncoding regions than the core genome. We provide evidence that disqualifies horizontal transfer to explain the observed sequence conservation and conclude that sequence divergence occurs at a slower pace in lineage-specific regions of the V. dahliae genome. We hypothesize that differences in chromatin organisation may explain lower nucleotide substitution rates in the plastic, lineage-specific regions of V. dahliae. © 2019 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Function and Distribution of a Lantipeptide in Strawberry Fusarium Wilt Disease-Suppressive Soils.

Streptomyces griseus S4-7 is representative of strains responsible for the specific soil suppressiveness of Fusarium wilt of strawberry caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae. Members of the genus Streptomyces secrete diverse secondary metabolites including lantipeptides, heat-stable lanthionine-containing compounds that can exhibit antibiotic activity. In this study, a class II lantipeptide provisionally named grisin, of previously unknown biological function, was shown to inhibit F. oxysporum. The inhibitory activity of grisin distinguishes it from other class II lantipeptides from Streptomyces spp. Results of quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction with lanM-specific primers showed that the density of grisin-producing Streptomyces spp. in the rhizosphere of strawberry was positively correlated with the number of years of monoculture and a minimum of seven years was required for development of specific soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt disease. We suggest that lanM can be used as a diagnostic marker of whether a soil is conducive or suppressive to the disease.


April 21, 2020  |  

Highly flexible infection programs in a specialized wheat pathogen.

Many filamentous plant pathogens exhibit high levels of genomic variability, yet the impact of this variation on host-pathogen interactions is largely unknown. We have addressed host specialization in the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Our study builds on comparative analyses of infection and gene expression phenotypes of three isolates and reveals the extent to which genomic variation translates into phenotypic variation. The isolates exhibit genetic and genomic variation but are similarly virulent. By combining confocal microscopy, disease monitoring, staining of ROS, and comparative transcriptome analyses, we conducted a detailed comparison of the infection processes of these isolates in a susceptible wheat cultivar. We characterized four core infection stages: establishment, biotrophic growth, lifestyle transition, and necrotrophic growth and asexual reproduction that are shared by the three isolates. However, we demonstrate differentiated temporal and spatial infection development and significant differences in the expression profiles of the three isolates during the infection stages. More than 20% of the genes were differentially expressed and these genes were located significantly closer to transposable elements, suggesting an impact of epigenetic regulation. Further, differentially expressed genes were enriched in effector candidates suggesting that isolate-specific strategies for manipulating host defenses are present in Z. tritici. We demonstrate that individuals of a host-specialized pathogen have highly differentiated infection programs characterized by flexible infection development and functional redundancy. This illustrates how high genetic diversity in pathogen populations results in highly differentiated infection phenotypes, which fact needs to be acknowledged to understand host-pathogen interactions and pathogen evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Population Genome Sequencing of the Scab Fungal Species Venturia inaequalis, Venturia pirina, Venturia aucupariae and Venturia asperata.

The Venturia genus comprises fungal species that are pathogens on Rosaceae host plants, including V. inaequalis and V. asperata on apple, V. aucupariae on sorbus and V. pirina on pear. Although the genetic structure of V. inaequalis populations has been investigated in detail, genomic features underlying these subdivisions remain poorly understood. Here, we report whole genome sequencing of 87 Venturia strains that represent each species and each population within V. inaequalis We present a PacBio genome assembly for the V. inaequalis EU-B04 reference isolate. The size of selected genomes was determined by flow cytometry, and varied from 45 to 93 Mb. Genome assemblies of V. inaequalis and V. aucupariae contain a high content of transposable elements (TEs), most of which belong to the Gypsy or Copia LTR superfamilies and have been inactivated by Repeat-Induced Point mutations. The reference assembly of V. inaequalis presents a mosaic structure of GC-equilibrated regions that mainly contain predicted genes and AT-rich regions, mainly composed of TEs. Six pairs of strains were identified as clones. Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) analysis between these clones revealed a high number of SNPs that are mostly located in AT-rich regions due to misalignments and allowed determining a false discovery rate. The availability of these genome sequences is expected to stimulate genetics and population genomics research of Venturia pathogens. Especially, it will help understanding the evolutionary history of Venturia species that are pathogenic on different hosts, a history that has probably been substantially influenced by TEs.Copyright © 2019 Le Cam et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

A chromosome-scale genome assembly reveals a highly dynamic effector repertoire of wheat powdery mildew.

Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (B.g. tritici) is the causal agent of the wheat powdery mildew disease. The highly fragmented B.g. tritici genome available so far has prevented a systematic analysis of effector genes that are known to be involved in host adaptation. To study the diversity and evolution of effector genes we produced a chromosome-scale assembly of the B.g. tritici genome. The genome assembly and annotation was achieved by combining long-read sequencing with high-density genetic mapping, bacterial artificial chromosome fingerprinting and transcriptomics. We found that the 166.6 Mb B.g. tritici genome encodes 844 candidate effector genes, over 40% more than previously reported. Candidate effector genes have characteristic local genomic organization such as gene clustering and enrichment for recombination-active regions and certain transposable element families. A large group of 412 candidate effector genes shows high plasticity in terms of copy number variation in a global set of 36 isolates and of transcription levels. Our data suggest that copy number variation and transcriptional flexibility are the main drivers for adaptation in B.g. tritici. The high repeat content may play a role in providing a genomic environment that allows rapid evolution of effector genes with selection as the driving force. © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.


April 21, 2020  |  

Xylella fastidiosa in Olive in Apulia: Where We Stand.

A dramatic outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa decimating olive was discovered in 2013 in Apulia, Southern Italy. This pathogen is a quarantine bacterium in the European Union (EU) and created unprecedented turmoil for the local economy and posed critical challenges for its management. With the new emerging threat to susceptible crops in the EU, efforts were devoted to gain basic knowledge on the pathogen biology, host, and environmental interactions (e.g., bacterial strain(s) and pathogenicity, hosts, vector(s), and fundamental drivers of its epidemics) in order to find means to control or mitigate the impacts of the infections. Field surveys, greenhouse tests, and laboratory analyses proved that a single bacterial introduction occurred in the area, with a single genotype, belonging to the subspecies pauca, associated with the epidemic. Infections caused by isolates of this genotype turned to be extremely aggressive on the local olive cultivars, causing a new disease termed olive quick decline syndrome. Due to the initial extension of the foci and the rapid spread of the infections, eradication measures (i.e., pathogen elimination from the area) were soon replaced by containment measures including intense border surveys of the contaminated area, removal of infected trees, and mandatory vector control. However, implementation of containment measures encountered serious difficulties, including public reluctance to accept control measures, poor stakeholder cooperation, misinformation from some media outlets, and lack of robust responses by some governmental authorities. This scenario delayed and limited containment efforts and allowed the bacterium to continue its rapid dissemination over more areas in the region, as shown by the continuous expansion of the official borders of the infected area. At the research level, the European Commission and regional authorities are now supporting several programs aimed to find effective methods to mitigate and contain the impact of X. fastidiosa on olives, the predominant host affected in this epidemic. Preliminary evidence of the presence of resistance in some olive cultivars represents a promising approach currently under investigation for long-term management strategies. The present review describes the current status of the epidemic and major research achievements since 2013.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Plasticity Mediated by Transposable Elements in the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Colletotrichum higginsianum.

Phytopathogen genomes are under constant pressure to change, as pathogens are locked in an evolutionary arms race with their hosts, where pathogens evolve effector genes to manipulate their hosts, whereas the hosts evolve immune components to recognize the products of these genes. Colletotrichum higginsianum (Ch), a fungal pathogen with no known sexual morph, infects Brassicaceae plants including Arabidopsis thaliana. Previous studies revealed that Ch differs in its virulence toward various Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes, indicating the existence of coevolutionary selective pressures. However, between-strain genomic variations in Ch have not been studied. Here, we sequenced and assembled the genome of a Ch strain, resulting in a highly contiguous genome assembly, which was compared with the chromosome-level genome assembly of another strain to identify genomic variations between strains. We found that the two closely related strains vary in terms of large-scale rearrangements, the existence of strain-specific regions, and effector candidate gene sets and that these variations are frequently associated with transposable elements (TEs). Ch has a compartmentalized genome consisting of gene-sparse, TE-dense regions with more effector candidate genes and gene-dense, TE-sparse regions harboring conserved genes. Additionally, analysis of the conservation patterns and syntenic regions of effector candidate genes indicated that the two strains vary in their effector candidate gene sets because of de novo evolution, horizontal gene transfer, or gene loss after divergence. Our results reveal mechanisms for generating genomic diversity in this asexual pathogen, which are important for understanding its adaption to hosts. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Smut infection of perennial hosts: the genome and the transcriptome of the Brassicaceae smut fungus Thecaphora thlaspeos reveal functionally conserved and novel effectors.

Biotrophic fungal plant pathogens can balance their virulence and form intricate relationships with their hosts. Sometimes, this leads to systemic host colonization over long time scales without macroscopic symptoms. However, how plant-pathogenic endophytes manage to establish their sustained systemic infection remains largely unknown. Here, we present a genomic and transcriptomic analysis of Thecaphora thlaspeos. This relative of the well studied grass smut Ustilago maydis is the only smut fungus adapted to Brassicaceae hosts. Its ability to overwinter with perennial hosts and its systemic plant infection including roots are unique characteristics among smut fungi. The T. thlaspeos genome was assembled to the chromosome level. It is a typical smut genome in terms of size and genome characteristics. In silico prediction of candidate effector genes revealed common smut effector proteins and unique members. For three candidates, we have functionally demonstrated effector activity. One of these, TtTue1, suggests a potential link to cold acclimation. On the plant side, we found evidence for a typical immune response as it is present in other infection systems, despite the absence of any macroscopic symptoms during infection. Our findings suggest that T. thlaspeos distinctly balances its virulence during biotrophic growth ultimately allowing for long-lived infection of its perennial hosts. © 2019 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2019 New Phytologist Trust.


April 21, 2020  |  

A High-Quality Draft Genome Sequence of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides sensu stricto SMCG1#C, a Causal Agent of Anthracnose on Cunninghamia lanceolata in China.

Colletotrichum has a broad host range and causes major yield losses of crops. The fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides is associated with anthracnose on Chinese fir. In this study, we present a high-quality draft genome sequence of C. gloeosporioides sensu stricto SMCG1#C, providing a reference genomic data for further research on anthracnose of Chinese fir and other hosts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequences of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines Isolates from the United States and Thailand Reveal Conserved Transcription Activator-Like Effectors.

To compare overall genome structure and transcription activator-like effector content, we completely sequenced Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines strain 12-2, isolated in 1992 in Thailand, and strain EB08, isolated in 2008 in the United States (Iowa) using PacBio technology. We reassembled the genome sequence for a second US strain, 8ra, derived from a 1980 Iowa isolate, from existing PacBio reads. Despite geographic and temporal separation, the three genomes are highly syntenous, and their transcription activator-like effector repertoires are highly conserved. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole-genome sequencing reveals recent and frequent genetic recombination between clonal lineages of Cryphonectria parasitica in western Europe.

Changes in the mode of reproduction are frequently observed in invasive fungal populations. The ascomycete Cryphonectria parasitica, which causes Chestnut Blight, was introduced to Europe from North America and Asia in the 20th century. Previous genotyping studies based on ten microsatellite markers have identified several clonal lineages which have spread throughout western Europe, suggesting that asexuality was the main reproductive mode of this species during colonization, although occasional sexual reproduction is not excluded. Based on the whole-genome sequences alignment of 46 C. parasitica isolates from France, North America and Asia, genealogy and population structure analyses mostly confirmed these lineages as clonal. However, one of these clonal lineages showed a signal of strong recombination, suggesting different strategies of reproduction in western Europe. Signatures of several recent recombination events within all the French clonal lineages studied here were also identified, indicating that gene flow is regular between these lineages. In addition, haplotype identification of seven French clonal lineages revealed that emergences of new clonal lineages during colonization were the result of hybridization between the main expanding clonal lineages and minor haplotypes non-sequenced in the present study. This whole-genome sequencing study underlines the importance of recombination events in the invasive success of these clonal populations, and suggests that sexual reproduction may be more frequent within and between the western European clonal lineages of C. parasitica than previously assumed using few genetic markers.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Blast Fungal Genomes Show Frequent Chromosomal Changes, Gene Gains and Losses, and Effector Gene Turnover.

Pyricularia is a fungal genus comprising several pathogenic species causing the blast disease in monocots. Pyricularia oryzae, the best-known species, infects rice, wheat, finger millet, and other crops. As past comparative and population genomics studies mainly focused on isolates of P. oryzae, the genomes of the other Pyricularia species have not been well explored. In this study, we obtained a chromosomal-level genome assembly of the finger millet isolate P. oryzae MZ5-1-6 and also highly contiguous assemblies of Pyricularia sp. LS, P. grisea, and P. pennisetigena. The differences in the genomic content of repetitive DNA sequences could largely explain the variation in genome size among these new genomes. Moreover, we found extensive gene gains and losses and structural changes among Pyricularia genomes, including a large interchromosomal translocation. We searched for homologs of known blast effectors across fungal taxa and found that most avirulence effectors are specific to Pyricularia, whereas many other effectors share homologs with distant fungal taxa. In particular, we discovered a novel effector family with metalloprotease activity, distinct from the well-known AVR-Pita family. We predicted 751 gene families containing putative effectors in 7 Pyricularia genomes and found that 60 of them showed differential expression in the P. oryzae MZ5-1-6 transcriptomes obtained under experimental conditions mimicking the pathogen infection process. In summary, this study increased our understanding of the structural, functional, and evolutionary genomics of the blast pathogen and identified new potential effector genes, providing useful data for developing crops with durable resistance. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.