Boxwood blight is a disease threat to natural and managed landscapes worldwide. To determine mating potential of the fungi responsible for the disease, Calonectria pseudonaviculata and C. henricotiae, we characterized their mating-type (MAT) loci. Genomes of C. henricotiae, C. pseudonaviculata and two other Calonectria species (C. leucothoes, C. naviculata) were sequenced and used to design PCR tests for mating-type from 268 isolates collected from four continents. All four Calonectria species have a MAT locus that is structurally consistent with the organization found in heterothallic ascomycetes, with just one idiomorph per individual isolate. Mating type was subdivided by species: all C. henricotiae isolates possessed the MAT1-1 idiomorph, whereas all C. pseudonaviculata isolates possessed the MAT1-2 idiomorph. To determine the potential for divergence at the MAT1 locus to present a barrier to interspecific hybridization, evolutionary analysis was conducted. Phylogenomic estimates showed that C. henricotiae and C. pseudonaviculata diverged approximately 2.1 Mya. However, syntenic comparisons, phylogenetic analyses, and estimates of nucleotide divergence across the MAT1 locus and proximal genes identified minimal divergence in this region of the genome. These results show that in North America and parts of Europe, where only C. pseudonaviculata resides, mating is constrained by the absence of MAT1-1. In regions of Europe where C. henricotiae and C. pseudonaviculata currently share the same host and geographic range, it remains to be determined whether or not these two recently diverged species are able to overcome species barriers to mate.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal: Fungal genetics and biology