Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) species are some of the most widespread symbionts of land plants. Our much improved reference genome assembly of a model AMF, Rhizophagus irregularis DAOM-181602 (total contigs?=?210), facilitated a discovery of repetitive elements with unusual characteristics. R. irregularis has only ten or 11 copies of complete 45S rDNAs, whereas the general eukaryotic genome has tens to thousands of rDNA copies. R. irregularis rDNAs are highly heterogeneous and lack a tandem repeat structure. These findings provide evidence for the hypothesis that rDNA heterogeneity depends on the lack of tandem repeat structures. RNA-Seq analysis confirmed that all rDNA variants are actively transcribed. Observed rDNA/rRNA polymorphisms may modulate translation by using different ribosomes depending on biotic and abiotic interactions. The non-tandem repeat structure and intragenomic heterogeneity of AMF rDNA/rRNA may facilitate successful adaptation to various environmental conditions, increasing host compatibility of these symbiotic fungi.
Journal: Communications biology