Comparative genomics reveals unique wood-decay strategies and fruiting body development in the Schizophyllaceae.
Agaricomycetes are fruiting body-forming fungi that produce some of the most efficient enzyme systems to degrade wood. Despite decades-long interest in their biology, the evolution and functional diversity of both wood-decay and fruiting body formation are incompletely known. We performed comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses of wood-decay and fruiting body development in Auriculariopsis ampla and Schizophyllum commune (Schizophyllaceae), species with secondarily simplified morphologies, an enigmatic wood-decay strategy and weak pathogenicity to woody plants. The plant cell wall-degrading enzyme repertoires of Schizophyllaceae are transitional between those of white rot species and less efficient wood-degraders such as brown rot or mycorrhizal fungi. Rich repertoires of suberinase and tannase genes were found in both species, with tannases restricted to Agaricomycetes that preferentially colonize bark-covered wood, suggesting potential complementation of their weaker wood-decaying abilities and adaptations to wood colonization through the bark. Fruiting body transcriptomes revealed a high rate of divergence in developmental gene expression, but also several genes with conserved expression patterns, including novel transcription factors and small-secreted proteins, some of the latter which might represent fruiting body effectors. Taken together, our analyses highlighted novel aspects of wood-decay and fruiting body development in an important family of mushroom-forming fungi. © 2019 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2019 New Phytologist Trust.