September 22, 2019  |  

Reference assembly and annotation of the Pyrenophora teres f. teres isolate 0-1.

Pyrenophora teres f.teres, the causal agent of net form net blotch (NFNB) of barley, is a destructive pathogen in barley-growing regions throughout the world. Typical yield losses due to NFNB range from 10 to 40%; however, complete loss has been observed on highly susceptible barley lines where environmental conditions favor the pathogen. Currently, genomic resources for this economically important pathogen are limited to a fragmented draft genome assembly and annotation, with limited RNA support of theP. teresf.teresisolate 0-1. This research presents an updated 0-1 reference assembly facilitated by long-read sequencing and scaffolding with the assistance of genetic linkage maps. Additionally, genome annotation was mediated by RNAseq analysis using three infection time points and a pure culture sample, resulting in 11,541 high-confidence gene models. The 0-1 genome assembly and annotation presented here now contains the majority of the repetitive content of the genome. Analysis of the 0-1 genome revealed classic characteristics of a “two-speed” genome, being compartmentalized into GC-equilibrated and AT-rich compartments. The assembly of repetitive AT-rich regions will be important for future investigation of genes known as effectors, which often reside in close proximity to repetitive regions. These effectors are responsible for manipulation of the host defense during infection. This updatedP. teresf.teresisolate 0-1 reference genome assembly and annotation provides a robust resource for the examination of the barley-P. teresf.tereshost-pathogen coevolution. Copyright © 2018 Wyatt et al.

September 22, 2019  |  

Biosynthesis of abscisic acid in fungi: identification of a sesquiterpene cyclase as the key enzyme in Botrytis cinerea.

While abscisic acid (ABA) is known as a hormone produced by plants through the carotenoid pathway, a small number of phytopathogenic fungi are also able to produce this sesquiterpene but they use a distinct pathway that starts with the cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) into 2Z,4E-a-ionylideneethane which is then subjected to several oxidation steps. To identify the sesquiterpene cyclase (STC) responsible for the biosynthesis of ABA in fungi, we conducted a genomic approach in Botrytis cinerea. The genome of the ABA-overproducing strain ATCC58025 was fully sequenced and five STC-coding genes were identified. Among them, Bcstc5 exhibits an expression profile concomitant with ABA production. Gene inactivation, complementation and chemical analysis demonstrated that BcStc5/BcAba5 is the key enzyme responsible for the key step of ABA biosynthesis in fungi. Unlike what is observed for most of the fungal secondary metabolism genes, the key enzyme-coding gene Bcstc5/Bcaba5 is not clustered with the other biosynthetic genes, i.e., Bcaba1 to Bcaba4 that are responsible for the oxidative transformation of 2Z,4E-a-ionylideneethane. Finally, our study revealed that the presence of the Bcaba genes among Botrytis species is rare and that the majority of them do not possess the ability to produce ABA.© 2018 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

September 22, 2019  |  

The genome assembly of the fungal pathogen Pyrenochaeta lycopersici from Single-Molecule Real-Time sequencing sheds new light on its biological complexity.

The first draft genome sequencing of the non-model fungal pathogen Pyrenochaeta lycopersici showed an expansion of gene families associated with heterokaryon incompatibility and lacking of mating-type genes, providing insights into the genetic basis of this “imperfect” fungus which lost the ability to produce the sexual stage. However, due to the Illumina short-read technology, the draft genome was too fragmented to allow a comprehensive characterization of the genome, especially of the repetitive sequence fraction. In this work, the sequencing of another P. lycopersici isolate using long-read Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing technology was performed with the aim of obtaining a gapless genome. Indeed, a gapless genome assembly of 62.7 Mb was obtained, with a fraction of repetitive sequences representing 30% of the total bases. The gene content of the two P. lycopersici isolates was very similar, and the large difference in genome size (about 8 Mb) might be attributable to the high fraction of repetitive sequences detected for the new sequenced isolate. The role of repetitive elements, including transposable elements, in modulating virulence effectors is well established in fungal plant pathogens. Moreover, transposable elements are of fundamental importance in creating and re-modelling genes, especially in imperfect fungi. Their abundance in P. lycopersici, together with the large expansion of heterokaryon incompatibility genes in both sequenced isolates, suggest the presence of possible mechanisms alternative to gene re-assorting mediated by sexual recombination. A quite large fraction (~9%) of repetitive elements in P. lycopersici, has no homology with known classes, strengthening this hypothesis. The availability of a gapless genome of P. lycopersici allowed the in-depth analysis of its genome content, by annotating functional genes and TEs. This goal will be an important resource for shedding light on the evolution of the reproductive and pathogenic behaviour of this soilborne pathogen and the onset of a possible speciation within this species.

September 22, 2019  |  

The landscape of repetitive elements in the refined genome of chilli anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum truncatum.

The ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum truncatum is a major phytopathogen with a broad host range which causes anthracnose disease of chilli. The genome sequencing of this fungus led to the discovery of functional categories of genes that may play important roles in fungal pathogenicity. However, the presence of gaps in C. truncatum draft assembly prevented the accurate prediction of repetitive elements, which are the key players to determine the genome architecture and drive evolution and host adaptation. We re-sequenced its genome using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology to obtain a refined assembly with lesser and smaller gaps and ambiguities. This enabled us to study its genome architecture by characterising the repetitive sequences like transposable elements (TEs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs), which constituted 4.9 and 0.38% of the assembled genome, respectively. The comparative analysis among different Colletotrichum species revealed the extensive repeat rich regions, dominated by Gypsy superfamily of long terminal repeats (LTRs), and the differential composition of SSRs in their genomes. Our study revealed a recent burst of LTR amplification in C. truncatum, C. higginsianum, and C. scovillei. TEs in C. truncatum were significantly associated with secretome, effectors and genes in secondary metabolism clusters. Some of the TE families in C. truncatum showed cytosine to thymine transitions indicative of repeat-induced point mutation (RIP). C. orbiculare and C. graminicola showed strong signatures of RIP across their genomes and “two-speed” genomes with extensive AT-rich and gene-sparse regions. Comparative genomic analyses of Colletotrichum species provided an insight into the species-specific SSR profiles. The SSRs in the coding and non-coding regions of the genome revealed the composition of trinucleotide repeat motifs in exons with potential to alter the translated protein structure through amino acid repeats. This is the first genome-wide study of TEs and SSRs in C. truncatum and their comparative analysis with six other Colletotrichum species, which would serve as a useful resource for future research to get insights into the potential role of TEs in genome expansion and evolution of Colletotrichum fungi and for development of SSR-based molecular markers for population genomic studies.

September 22, 2019  |  

Repeat elements organise 3D genome structure and mediate transcription in the filamentous fungus Epichloë festucae.

Structural features of genomes, including the three-dimensional arrangement of DNA in the nucleus, are increasingly seen as key contributors to the regulation of gene expression. However, studies on how genome structure and nuclear organisation influence transcription have so far been limited to a handful of model species. This narrow focus limits our ability to draw general conclusions about the ways in which three-dimensional structures are encoded, and to integrate information from three-dimensional data to address a broader gamut of biological questions. Here, we generate a complete and gapless genome sequence for the filamentous fungus, Epichloë festucae. We use Hi-C data to examine the three-dimensional organisation of the genome, and RNA-seq data to investigate how Epichloë genome structure contributes to the suite of transcriptional changes needed to maintain symbiotic relationships with the grass host. Our results reveal a genome in which very repeat-rich blocks of DNA with discrete boundaries are interspersed by gene-rich sequences that are almost repeat-free. In contrast to other species reported to date, the three-dimensional structure of the genome is anchored by these repeat blocks, which act to isolate transcription in neighbouring gene-rich regions. Genes that are differentially expressed in planta are enriched near the boundaries of these repeat-rich blocks, suggesting that their three-dimensional orientation partly encodes and regulates the symbiotic relationship formed by this organism.

September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the potato pathogenic fungus Alternaria solani HWC-168 reveals clues for its conidiation and virulence.

Alternaria solani is a known air-born deuteromycete fungus with a polycyclic life cycle and is the causal agent of early blight that causes significant yield losses of potato worldwide. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the conidiation and pathogenicity remain largely unknown.We produced a high-quality genome assembly of A. solani HWC-168 that was isolated from a major potato-producing region of Northern China, which facilitated a comprehensive gene annotation, the accurate prediction of genes encoding secreted proteins and identification of conidiation-related genes. The assembled genome of A. solani HWC-168 has a genome size 32.8 Mb and encodes 10,358 predicted genes that are highly similar with related Alternaria species including Alternaria arborescens and Alternaria brassicicola. We identified conidiation-related genes in the genome of A. solani HWC-168 by searching for sporulation-related homologues identified from Aspergillus nidulans. A total of 975 secreted protein-encoding genes, which might act as virulence factors, were identified in the genome of A. solani HWC-168. The predicted secretome of A. solani HWC-168 possesses 261 carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZy), 119 proteins containing RxLx[EDQ] motif and 27 secreted proteins unique to A. solani.Our findings will facilitate the identification of conidiation- and virulence-related genes in the genome of A. solani. This will permit new insights into understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the A. solani-potato pathosystem and will add value to the global fungal genome database.

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