April 21, 2020  |  

A whole genome scan of SNP data suggests a lack of abundant hard selective sweeps in the genome of the broad host range plant pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

The pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum infects over 600 species of plant. It is present in numerous environments throughout the world and causes significant damage to many agricultural crops. Fragmentation and lack of gene flow between populations may lead to population sub-structure. Within discrete recombining populations, positive selection may lead to a ‘selective sweep’. This is characterised by an increase in frequency of a favourable allele leading to reduction in genotypic diversity in a localised genomic region due to the phenomenon of genetic hitchhiking. We aimed to assess whether isolates of S. sclerotiorum from around the world formed genotypic clusters associated with geographical origin and to determine whether signatures of population-specific positive selection could be detected. To do this, we sequenced the genomes of 25 isolates of S. sclerotiorum collected from four different continents-Australia, Africa (north and south), Europe and North America (Canada and the northen United States) and conducted SNP based analyses of population structure and selective sweeps. Among the 25 isolates, there was evidence for two major population clusters. One of these consisted of 11 isolates from Canada, the USA and France (population 1), and the other consisted of nine isolates from Australia and one from Morocco (population 2). The rest of the isolates were genotypic outliers. We found that there was evidence of outcrossing in these two populations based on linkage disequilibrium decay. However, only a single candidate selective sweep was observed, and it was present in population 2. This sweep was close to a Major Facilitator Superfamily transporter gene, and we speculate that this gene may have a role in nutrient uptake from the host. The low abundance of selective sweeps in the S. sclerotiorum genome contrasts the numerous examples in the genomes of other fungal pathogens. This may be a result of its slow rate of evolution and low effective recombination rate due to self-fertilisation and vegetative reproduction.


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  |  

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  |  

Genome of lethal Lepiota venenata and insights into the evolution of toxin-biosynthetic genes.

Genomes of lethal Amanita and Galerina mushrooms have gradually become available in the past ten years; in contrast the other known amanitin-producing genus, Lepiota, is still vacant in this aspect. A fatal mushroom poisoning case in China has led to acquisition of fresh L. venenata fruiting bodies, based on which a draft genome was obtained through PacBio and Illumina sequencing platforms. Toxin-biosynthetic MSDIN family and Porlyl oligopeptidase B (POPB) genes were mined from the genome and used for phylogenetic and statistical studies to gain insights into the evolution of the biosynthetic pathway.The analysis of the genome data illustrated that only one MSDIN, named LvAMA1, exits in the genome, along with a POPB gene. No POPA homolog was identified by direct homology searching, however, one additional POP gene, named LvPOPC, was cloned and the gene structure determined. Similar to ApAMA1 in A. phalloides and GmAMA1 in G. marginata, LvAMA1 directly encodes a-amanitin. The two toxin genes were mapped to the draft genome, and the structures analyzed. Furthermore, phylogenetic and statistical analyses were conducted to study the evolution history of the POPB genes. Compared to our previous report, the phylogenetic trees unambiguously showed that a monophyletic POPB lineage clearly conflicted with the species phylogeny. In contrast, phylogeny of POPA genes resembled the species phylogeny. Topology and divergence tests showed that the POPB lineage was robust and these genes exhibited significantly shorter genetic distances than those of the house-keeping rbp2, a characteristic feature of genes with horizontal gene transfer (HGT) background. Consistently, same scenario applied to the only MSDIN, LvAMA1, in the genome.To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported genome of Lepiota. The analyses of the toxin genes indicate that the cyclic peptides are synthesized through a ribosomal mechanism. The toxin genes, LvAMA1 and LvPOPB, are not in the vicinity of each other. Phylogenetic and evolutionary studies suggest that HGT is the underlining cause for the occurrence of POPB and MSDIN in Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota, which are allocated in three distantly-related families.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comprehensive analysis of full genome sequence and Bd-milRNA/target mRNAs to discover the mechanism of hypovirulence in Botryosphaeria dothidea strains on pear infection with BdCV1 and BdPV1

Pear ring rot disease, mainly caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea, is widespread in most pear and apple-growing regions. Mycoviruses are used for biocontrol, especially in fruit tree disease. BdCV1 (Botryosphaeria dothidea chrysovirus 1) and BdPV1 (Botryosphaeria dothidea partitivirus 1) influence the biological characteristics of B. dothidea strains. BdCV1 is a potential candidate for the control of fungal disease. Therefore, it is vital to explore interactions between B. dothidea and mycovirus to clarify the pathogenic mechanisms of B. dothidea and hypovirulence of B. dothidea in pear. A high-quality full-length genome sequence of the B. dothidea LW-Hubei isolate was obtained using Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing. It has high repeat sequence with 9.3% and DNA methylation existence in the genome. The 46.34?Mb genomes contained 14,091 predicted genes, which of 13,135 were annotated. B. dothidea was predicted to express 3833 secreted proteins. In bioinformatics analysis, 351 CAZy members, 552 transporters, 128 kinases, and 1096 proteins associated with plant-host interaction (PHI) were identified. RNA-silencing components including two endoribonuclease Dicer, four argonaute (Ago) and three RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) molecules were identified and expressed in response to mycovirus infection. Horizontal transfer of the LW-C and LW-P strains indicated that BdCV1 induced host gene silencing in LW-C to suppress BdPV1 transmission. To investigate the role of RNA-silencing in B. dothidea defense, we constructed four small RNA libraries and sequenced B. dothidea micro-like RNAs (Bd-milRNAs) produced in response to BdCV1 and BdPV1 infection. Among these, 167 conserved and 68 candidate novel Bd-milRNAs were identified, of which 161 conserved and 20 novel Bd-milRNA were differentially expressed. WEGO analysis revealed involvement of the differentially expressed Bd-milRNA-targeted genes in metabolic process, catalytic activity, cell process and response to stress or stimulus. BdCV1 had a greater effect on the phenotype, virulence, conidiomata, vertical and horizontal transmission ability, and mycelia cellular structure biological characteristics of B. dothidea strains than BdPV1 and virus-free strains. The results obtained in this study indicate that mycovirus regulates biological processes in B. dothidea through the combined interaction of antiviral defense mediated by RNA-silencing and milRNA-mediated regulation of target gene mRNA expression.


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