Transposable elements (TEs) are agents of genetic variability in phytopathogens as they are a source of adaptive evolution through genome diversification. Although many studies have uncovered information on TEs, the exact mechanism behind TE-induced changes within the genome remains poorly understood. Furthermore, convergent trends towards bigger genomes, emergence of novel genes and gain or loss of genes implicate a TE-regulated genome plasticity of fungal phytopathogens. TEs are able to alter gene expression by revamping the cis-regulatory elements or recruiting epigenetic control. Recent findings show that TEs recruit epigenetic control on the expression of effector genes as part of the coordinated infection strategy. In addition to genome plasticity and diversity, fungal pathogenicity is an area of economic concern. A survey of TE distribution suggests that their proximity to pathogenicity genes TEs may act as sites for emergence of novel pathogenicity factors via nucleotide changes and expansion or reduction of the gene family. Through a systematic survey of literature, we were able to conclude that the role of TEs in fungi is wide: ranging from genome plasticity, pathogenicity to adaptive behavior in evolution. This review also identifies the gaps in knowledge that requires further elucidation for a better understanding of TEs' contribution to genome architecture and versatility.
Journal: International journal of molecular sciences