Publications by authors named "Andrea Aerts"

40 Publications

Genome Sequence of the Chestnut Blight Fungus EP155: A Fundamental Resource for an Archetypical Invasive Plant Pathogen.

Phytopathology 2020 Jun 17;110(6):1180-1188. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, University of Maryland, Rockville, MD, U.S.A.

is the causal agent of chestnut blight, a fungal disease that almost entirely eliminated mature American chestnut from North America over a 50-year period. Here, we formally report the genome of EP155 using a Sanger shotgun sequencing approach. After finishing and integration with simple-sequence repeat markers, the assembly was 43.8 Mb in 26 scaffolds (L = 5; N = 4.0Mb). Eight chromosomes are predicted: five scaffolds have two telomeres and six scaffolds have one telomere sequence. In total, 11,609 gene models were predicted, of which 85% show similarities to other proteins. This genome resource has already increased the utility of a fundamental plant pathogen experimental system through new understanding of the fungal vegetative incompatibility system, with significant implications for enhancing mycovirus-based biological control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-12-19-0478-ADOI Listing
June 2020

Genome-wide analysis of cytochrome P450s of spp.: annotation and evolutionary relationships.

Fungal Biol Biotechnol 2018 4;5:12. Epub 2018 Jun 4.

1Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400085 India.

Background: Cytochrome P450s form an important group of enzymes involved in xenobiotics degradation and metabolism, both primary and secondary. These enzymes are also useful in industry as biotechnological tools for bioconversion and a few are reported to be involved in pathogenicity. spp. are widely used in industry and agriculture and are known for their biosynthetic potential of a large number of secondary metabolites. For realising the full biosynthetic potential of an organism, it is important to do a genome-wide annotation and cataloguing of these enzymes.

Results: Here, we have studied the genomes of seven species (, , , , , and ) and identified a total of 477 cytochrome P450s. We present here the classification, evolution and structure as well as predicted function of these proteins. This study would pave the way for functional characterization of these groups of enzymes and will also help in realization of their full economic potential.

Conclusion: Our CYPome annotation and evolutionary studies of the seven species now provides opportunities for exploration of research-driven strategies to select species for various applications especially in relation to secondary metabolism and degradation of environmental pollutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40694-018-0056-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985579PMC
June 2018

Massive lateral transfer of genes encoding plant cell wall-degrading enzymes to the mycoparasitic fungus Trichoderma from its plant-associated hosts.

PLoS Genet 2018 04 9;14(4):e1007322. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

Microbiology and Applied Genomics Group, Research Area Biochemical Technology, Institute of Chemical, Environmental & Bioscience Engineering, TU Wien, Vienna, Austria.

Unlike most other fungi, molds of the genus Trichoderma (Hypocreales, Ascomycota) are aggressive parasites of other fungi and efficient decomposers of plant biomass. Although nutritional shifts are common among hypocrealean fungi, there are no examples of such broad substrate versatility as that observed in Trichoderma. A phylogenomic analysis of 23 hypocrealean fungi (including nine Trichoderma spp. and the related Escovopsis weberi) revealed that the genus Trichoderma has evolved from an ancestor with limited cellulolytic capability that fed on either fungi or arthropods. The evolutionary analysis of Trichoderma genes encoding plant cell wall-degrading carbohydrate-active enzymes and auxiliary proteins (pcwdCAZome, 122 gene families) based on a gene tree / species tree reconciliation demonstrated that the formation of the genus was accompanied by an unprecedented extent of lateral gene transfer (LGT). Nearly one-half of the genes in Trichoderma pcwdCAZome (41%) were obtained via LGT from plant-associated filamentous fungi belonging to different classes of Ascomycota, while no LGT was observed from other potential donors. In addition to the ability to feed on unrelated fungi (such as Basidiomycota), we also showed that Trichoderma is capable of endoparasitism on a broad range of Ascomycota, including extant LGT donors. This phenomenon was not observed in E. weberi and rarely in other mycoparasitic hypocrealean fungi. Thus, our study suggests that LGT is linked to the ability of Trichoderma to parasitize taxonomically related fungi (up to adelphoparasitism in strict sense). This may have allowed primarily mycotrophic Trichoderma fungi to evolve into decomposers of plant biomass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908196PMC
April 2018

Comparative genomics of biotechnologically important yeasts.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 08 17;113(35):9882-7. Epub 2016 Aug 17.

Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706;

Ascomycete yeasts are metabolically diverse, with great potential for biotechnology. Here, we report the comparative genome analysis of 29 taxonomically and biotechnologically important yeasts, including 16 newly sequenced. We identify a genetic code change, CUG-Ala, in Pachysolen tannophilus in the clade sister to the known CUG-Ser clade. Our well-resolved yeast phylogeny shows that some traits, such as methylotrophy, are restricted to single clades, whereas others, such as l-rhamnose utilization, have patchy phylogenetic distributions. Gene clusters, with variable organization and distribution, encode many pathways of interest. Genomics can predict some biochemical traits precisely, but the genomic basis of others, such as xylose utilization, remains unresolved. Our data also provide insight into early evolution of ascomycetes. We document the loss of H3K9me2/3 heterochromatin, the origin of ascomycete mating-type switching, and panascomycete synteny at the MAT locus. These data and analyses will facilitate the engineering of efficient biosynthetic and degradative pathways and gateways for genomic manipulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1603941113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5024638PMC
August 2016

Combating a Global Threat to a Clonal Crop: Banana Black Sigatoka Pathogen Pseudocercospora fijiensis (Synonym Mycosphaerella fijiensis) Genomes Reveal Clues for Disease Control.

PLoS Genet 2016 08 11;12(8):e1005876. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Black Sigatoka or black leaf streak disease, caused by the Dothideomycete fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis (previously: Mycosphaerella fijiensis), is the most significant foliar disease of banana worldwide. Due to the lack of effective host resistance, management of this disease requires frequent fungicide applications, which greatly increase the economic and environmental costs to produce banana. Weekly applications in most banana plantations lead to rapid evolution of fungicide-resistant strains within populations causing disease-control failures throughout the world. Given its extremely high economic importance, two strains of P. fijiensis were sequenced and assembled with the aid of a new genetic linkage map. The 74-Mb genome of P. fijiensis is massively expanded by LTR retrotransposons, making it the largest genome within the Dothideomycetes. Melting-curve assays suggest that the genomes of two closely related members of the Sigatoka disease complex, P. eumusae and P. musae, also are expanded. Electrophoretic karyotyping and analyses of molecular markers in P. fijiensis field populations showed chromosome-length polymorphisms and high genetic diversity. Genetic differentiation was also detected using neutral markers, suggesting strong selection with limited gene flow at the studied geographic scale. Frequencies of fungicide resistance in fungicide-treated plantations were much higher than those in untreated wild-type P. fijiensis populations. A homologue of the Cladosporium fulvum Avr4 effector, PfAvr4, was identified in the P. fijiensis genome. Infiltration of the purified PfAVR4 protein into leaves of the resistant banana variety Calcutta 4 resulted in a hypersensitive-like response. This result suggests that Calcutta 4 could carry an unknown resistance gene recognizing PfAVR4. Besides adding to our understanding of the overall Dothideomycete genome structures, the P. fijiensis genome will aid in developing fungicide treatment schedules to combat this pathogen and in improving the efficiency of banana breeding programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1005876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4981457PMC
August 2016

Phylogenomic Analyses Indicate that Early Fungi Evolved Digesting Cell Walls of Algal Ancestors of Land Plants.

Genome Biol Evol 2015 May 14;7(6):1590-601. Epub 2015 May 14.

Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

As decomposers, fungi are key players in recycling plant material in global carbon cycles. We hypothesized that genomes of early diverging fungi may have inherited pectinases from an ancestral species that had been able to extract nutrients from pectin-containing land plants and their algal allies (Streptophytes). We aimed to infer, based on pectinase gene expansions and on the organismal phylogeny, the geological timing of the plant-fungus association. We analyzed 40 fungal genomes, three of which, including Gonapodya prolifera, were sequenced for this study. In the organismal phylogeny from 136 housekeeping loci, Rozella diverged first from all other fungi. Gonapodya prolifera was included among the flagellated, predominantly aquatic fungal species in Chytridiomycota. Sister to Chytridiomycota were the predominantly terrestrial fungi including zygomycota I and zygomycota II, along with the ascomycetes and basidiomycetes that comprise Dikarya. The Gonapodya genome has 27 genes representing five of the seven classes of pectin-specific enzymes known from fungi. Most of these share a common ancestry with pectinases from Dikarya. Indicating functional and sequence similarity, Gonapodya, like many Dikarya, can use pectin as a carbon source for growth in pure culture. Shared pectinases of Dikarya and Gonapodya provide evidence that even ancient aquatic fungi had adapted to extract nutrients from the plants in the green lineage. This implies that 750 million years, the estimated maximum age of origin of the pectin-containing streptophytes represents a maximum age for the divergence of Chytridiomycota from the lineage including Dikarya.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evv090DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494064PMC
May 2015

Horizontal gene transfer and gene dosage drives adaptation to wood colonization in a tree pathogen.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Mar 2;112(11):3451-6. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4; Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 4C7;

Some of the most damaging tree pathogens can attack woody stems, causing lesions (cankers) that may be lethal. To identify the genomic determinants of wood colonization leading to canker formation, we sequenced the genomes of the poplar canker pathogen, Mycosphaerella populorum, and the closely related poplar leaf pathogen, M. populicola. A secondary metabolite cluster unique to M. populorum is fully activated following induction by poplar wood and leaves. In addition, genes encoding hemicellulose-degrading enzymes, peptidases, and metabolite transporters were more abundant and were up-regulated in M. populorum growing on poplar wood-chip medium compared with M. populicola. The secondary gene cluster and several of the carbohydrate degradation genes have the signature of horizontal transfer from ascomycete fungi associated with wood decay and from prokaryotes. Acquisition and maintenance of the gene battery necessary for growth in woody tissues and gene dosage resulting in gene expression reconfiguration appear to be responsible for the adaptation of M. populorum to infect, colonize, and cause mortality on poplar woody stems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1424293112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371944PMC
March 2015

Alternative splicing acting as a bridge in evolution.

Stem Cell Investig 2015 30;2:19. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

1 US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, 2800 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, USA ; 2 Roche Molecular Diagnostics, 4300 Hacienda Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588, USA ; 3 Department of Clinical Medicine, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming 650031, China.

Background: Alternative splicing (AS) regulates diverse cellular and developmental functions through alternative protein structures of different isoforms. Alternative exons dominate AS in vertebrates; however, very little is known about the extent and function of AS in lower eukaryotes. To understand the role of introns in gene evolution, we examined AS from a green algal and five fungal genomes using a novel EST-based gene-modeling algorithm (COMBEST).

Methods: AS from each genome was classified with COMBEST that maps EST sequences to genomes to build gene models. Various aspects of AS were analyzed through statistical methods. The interplay of intron 3n length, phase, coding property, and intron retention (RI) were examined with Chi-square testing.

Results: With 3 to 834 times EST coverage, we identified up to 73% of AS in intron-containing genes and found preponderance of RI among 11 types of AS. The number of exons, expression level, and maximum intron length correlated with number of AS per gene (NAG), and intron-rich genes suppressed AS. Genes with AS were more ancient, and AS was conserved among fungal genomes. Among stopless introns, non-retained introns (NRI) avoided, but major RI preferred 3n length. In contrast, stop-containing introns showed uniform distribution among 3n, 3n+1, and 3n+2 lengths. We found a clue to the intron phase enigma: it was the coding function of introns involved in AS that dictates the intron phase bias.

Conclusions: Majority of AS is non-functional, and the extent of AS is suppressed for intron-rich genes. RI through 3n length, stop codon, and phase bias bridges the transition from functionless to functional alternative isoforms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2306-9759.2015.10.01DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923640PMC
June 2016

Rhes suppression enhances disease phenotypes in Huntington's disease mice.

J Huntingtons Dis 2014 ;3(1):65-71

Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA Department of Internal Medicine, Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA Department of Neurology, Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA.

In Huntington's disease (HD) mutant HTT is ubiquitously expressed yet the striatum undergoes profound early degeneration. Cell culture studies suggest that a striatal-enriched protein, Rhes, may account for this vulnerability. We investigated the therapeutic potential of silencing Rhes in vivo using inhibitory RNAs (miRhes). While Rhes suppression was tolerated in wildtype mice, it failed to improve rotarod function in two distinct HD mouse models. Additionally, miRhes treated HD mice had increased anxiety-like behaviors and enhanced striatal atrophy as measured by longitudinal MRI when compared to control treated mice. These findings raise caution regarding the long-term implementation of inhibiting Rhes as a therapy for HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JHD-140094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4139702PMC
October 2014

Haploinsufficiency of interferon regulatory factor 6 alters brain morphology in the mouse.

Am J Med Genet A 2014 Mar 19;164A(3):655-60. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Orofacial clefts are among the commonest birth defects. Among many genetic contributors to orofacial clefting, Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (IRF6) is unique since mutations in this gene cause Van der Woude (VWS), the most common clefting syndrome. Furthermore, variants in IRF6 contribute to increased risk for non-syndromic cleft lip and/or palate (NSCL/P). Our previous work shows that individuals with either VWS or NSCL/P may have cerebral anomalies (larger anterior, smaller posterior regions), and a smaller cerebellum. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that disrupting Irf6 in the mouse will result in quantitative brain changes similar to those reported for humans with VWS and NSCL/P. Male mice heterozygous for Irf6 (Irf6(gt1/+); n = 9) and wild-type (Irf6(+/+) ; n = 6) mice at comparable age underwent a 4.7-T MRI scan to obtain quantitative measures of cortical and subcortical brain structures. There was no difference in total brain volume between groups. However, the frontal cortex was enlarged in the Irf6(gt1/+) mice compared to that of wild types (P = 0.028) while the posterior cortex did not differ. In addition, the volume of the cerebellum of Irf6(gt1/+) mice was decreased (P = 0.004). Mice that were heterozygous for Irf6 showed a similar pattern of brain anomalies previously reported in humans with VWS and NSCL/P. These structural differences were present in the absence of overt oral clefts. These results support a role for IRF6 in brain morphometry and provide evidence for a potential genetic link to abnormal brain development in orofacial clefting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100789PMC
March 2014

Genome Sequences of Industrially Relevant Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain M3707, Isolated from a Sample of Distillers Yeast and Four Haploid Derivatives.

Genome Announc 2013 Jun 27;1(3). Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain M3707 was isolated from a sample of commercial distillers yeast, and its genome sequence together with the genome sequences for the four derived haploid strains M3836, M3837, M3838, and M3839 has been determined. Yeasts have potential for consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) for biofuel production, and access to these genome sequences will facilitate their development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.00323-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675515PMC
June 2013

Insights into bilaterian evolution from three spiralian genomes.

Nature 2013 Jan 19;493(7433):526-31. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

Current genomic perspectives on animal diversity neglect two prominent phyla, the molluscs and annelids, that together account for nearly one-third of known marine species and are important both ecologically and as experimental systems in classical embryology. Here we describe the draft genomes of the owl limpet (Lottia gigantea), a marine polychaete (Capitella teleta) and a freshwater leech (Helobdella robusta), and compare them with other animal genomes to investigate the origin and diversification of bilaterians from a genomic perspective. We find that the genome organization, gene structure and functional content of these species are more similar to those of some invertebrate deuterostome genomes (for example, amphioxus and sea urchin) than those of other protostomes that have been sequenced to date (flies, nematodes and flatworms). The conservation of these genomic features enables us to expand the inventory of genes present in the last common bilaterian ancestor, establish the tripartite diversification of bilaterians using multiple genomic characteristics and identify ancient conserved long- and short-range genetic linkages across metazoans. Superimposed on this broadly conserved pan-bilaterian background we find examples of lineage-specific genome evolution, including varying rates of rearrangement, intron gain and loss, expansions and contractions of gene families, and the evolution of clade-specific genes that produce the unique content of each genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11696DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4085046PMC
January 2013

The genomes of the fungal plant pathogens Cladosporium fulvum and Dothistroma septosporum reveal adaptation to different hosts and lifestyles but also signatures of common ancestry.

PLoS Genet 2012 29;8(11):e1003088. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

We sequenced and compared the genomes of the Dothideomycete fungal plant pathogens Cladosporium fulvum (Cfu) (syn. Passalora fulva) and Dothistroma septosporum (Dse) that are closely related phylogenetically, but have different lifestyles and hosts. Although both fungi grow extracellularly in close contact with host mesophyll cells, Cfu is a biotroph infecting tomato, while Dse is a hemibiotroph infecting pine. The genomes of these fungi have a similar set of genes (70% of gene content in both genomes are homologs), but differ significantly in size (Cfu >61.1-Mb; Dse 31.2-Mb), which is mainly due to the difference in repeat content (47.2% in Cfu versus 3.2% in Dse). Recent adaptation to different lifestyles and hosts is suggested by diverged sets of genes. Cfu contains an α-tomatinase gene that we predict might be required for detoxification of tomatine, while this gene is absent in Dse. Many genes encoding secreted proteins are unique to each species and the repeat-rich areas in Cfu are enriched for these species-specific genes. In contrast, conserved genes suggest common host ancestry. Homologs of Cfu effector genes, including Ecp2 and Avr4, are present in Dse and induce a Cf-Ecp2- and Cf-4-mediated hypersensitive response, respectively. Strikingly, genes involved in production of the toxin dothistromin, a likely virulence factor for Dse, are conserved in Cfu, but their expression differs markedly with essentially no expression by Cfu in planta. Likewise, Cfu has a carbohydrate-degrading enzyme catalog that is more similar to that of necrotrophs or hemibiotrophs and a larger pectinolytic gene arsenal than Dse, but many of these genes are not expressed in planta or are pseudogenized. Overall, comparison of their genomes suggests that these closely related plant pathogens had a common ancestral host but since adapted to different hosts and lifestyles by a combination of differentiated gene content, pseudogenization, and gene regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003088DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510045PMC
May 2013

Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Oct 8;109(43):17501-6. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 1136 Université Henri Poincaré, Interactions Arbres/Micro-organismes, 54280 Champenoux, France.

Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the "button mushroom" forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1206847109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491501PMC
October 2012

Comparative genomics of the white-rot fungi, Phanerochaete carnosa and P. chrysosporium, to elucidate the genetic basis of the distinct wood types they colonize.

BMC Genomics 2012 Sep 2;13:444. Epub 2012 Sep 2.

Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Background: Softwood is the predominant form of land plant biomass in the Northern hemisphere, and is among the most recalcitrant biomass resources to bioprocess technologies. The white rot fungus, Phanerochaete carnosa, has been isolated almost exclusively from softwoods, while most other known white-rot species, including Phanerochaete chrysosporium, were mainly isolated from hardwoods. Accordingly, it is anticipated that P. carnosa encodes a distinct set of enzymes and proteins that promote softwood decomposition. To elucidate the genetic basis of softwood bioconversion by a white-rot fungus, the present study reports the P. carnosa genome sequence and its comparative analysis with the previously reported P. chrysosporium genome.

Results: P. carnosa encodes a complete set of lignocellulose-active enzymes. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that P. carnosa is enriched with genes encoding manganese peroxidase, and that the most divergent glycoside hydrolase families were predicted to encode hemicellulases and glycoprotein degrading enzymes. Most remarkably, P. carnosa possesses one of the largest P450 contingents (266 P450s) among the sequenced and annotated wood-rotting basidiomycetes, nearly double that of P. chrysosporium. Along with metabolic pathway modeling, comparative growth studies on model compounds and chemical analyses of decomposed wood components showed greater tolerance of P. carnosa to various substrates including coniferous heartwood.

Conclusions: The P. carnosa genome is enriched with genes that encode P450 monooxygenases that can participate in extractives degradation, and manganese peroxidases involved in lignin degradation. The significant expansion of P450s in P. carnosa, along with differences in carbohydrate- and lignin-degrading enzymes, could be correlated to the utilization of heartwood and sapwood preparations from both coniferous and hardwood species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-13-444DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3463431PMC
September 2012

The Paleozoic origin of enzymatic lignin decomposition reconstructed from 31 fungal genomes.

Science 2012 Jun;336(6089):1715-9

Biology Department, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610, USA.

Wood is a major pool of organic carbon that is highly resistant to decay, owing largely to the presence of lignin. The only organisms capable of substantial lignin decay are white rot fungi in the Agaricomycetes, which also contains non-lignin-degrading brown rot and ectomycorrhizal species. Comparative analyses of 31 fungal genomes (12 generated for this study) suggest that lignin-degrading peroxidases expanded in the lineage leading to the ancestor of the Agaricomycetes, which is reconstructed as a white rot species, and then contracted in parallel lineages leading to brown rot and mycorrhizal species. Molecular clock analyses suggest that the origin of lignin degradation might have coincided with the sharp decrease in the rate of organic carbon burial around the end of the Carboniferous period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1221748DOI Listing
June 2012

The genome of wine yeast Dekkera bruxellensis provides a tool to explore its food-related properties.

Int J Food Microbiol 2012 Jul 14;157(2):202-9. Epub 2012 May 14.

Wine Research Centre, University of Nova Gorica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia.

The yeast Dekkera/Brettanomyces bruxellensis can cause enormous economic losses in wine industry due to production of phenolic off-flavor compounds. D. bruxellensis is a distant relative of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nevertheless, these two yeasts are often found in the same habitats and share several food-related traits, such as production of high ethanol levels and ability to grow without oxygen. In some food products, like lambic beer, D. bruxellensis can importantly contribute to flavor development. We determined the 13.4 Mb genome sequence of the D. bruxellensis strain Y879 (CBS2499) and deduced the genetic background of several "food-relevant" properties and evolutionary history of this yeast. Surprisingly, we find that this yeast is phylogenetically distant to other food-related yeasts and most related to Pichia (Komagataella) pastoris, which is an aerobic poor ethanol producer. We further show that the D. bruxellensis genome does not contain an excess of lineage specific duplicated genes nor a horizontally transferred URA1 gene, two crucial events that promoted the evolution of the food relevant traits in the S. cerevisiae lineage. However, D. bruxellensis has several independently duplicated ADH and ADH-like genes, which are likely responsible for metabolism of alcohols, including ethanol, and also a range of aromatic compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2012.05.008DOI Listing
July 2012

Insight into trade-off between wood decay and parasitism from the genome of a fungal forest pathogen.

New Phytol 2012 Jun 28;194(4):1001-13. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Parasitism and saprotrophic wood decay are two fungal strategies fundamental for succession and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. An opportunity to assess the trade-off between these strategies is provided by the forest pathogen and wood decayer Heterobasidion annosum sensu lato. We report the annotated genome sequence and transcript profiling, as well as the quantitative trait loci mapping, of one member of the species complex: H. irregulare. Quantitative trait loci critical for pathogenicity, and rich in transposable elements, orphan and secreted genes, were identified. A wide range of cellulose-degrading enzymes are expressed during wood decay. By contrast, pathogenic interaction between H. irregulare and pine engages fewer carbohydrate-active enzymes, but involves an increase in pectinolytic enzymes, transcription modules for oxidative stress and secondary metabolite production. Our results show a trade-off in terms of constrained carbohydrate decomposition and membrane transport capacity during interaction with living hosts. Our findings establish that saprotrophic wood decay and necrotrophic parasitism involve two distinct, yet overlapping, processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04128.xDOI Listing
June 2012

Height, BMI, and pituitary volume in individuals with and without isolated cleft lip and/or palate.

Pediatr Res 2012 May 9;71(5):612-8. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.

Introduction: Individuals with isolated cleft lip and/or palate (ICLP) are often reported to be of shorter stature relative to peers, and the objective of this study was to explore the role of the pituitary in relationship to growth.

Methods: Fifty-five males and 32 females with ICLP were compared to 121 healthy males and 158 healthy females with respect to height and BMI. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained from all ICLP participants and 47% of healthy group participants.

Results: Males with ICLP were shorter than healthy males and had lower BMI. However, the trajectories for height and BMI did not differ between groups. Analyses in a separate sample of adult males suggested that height normalizes in males with ICLP in their early 30s. There were no differences in mean pituitary volume and pituitary trajectories between male groups. Females with ICLP were shorter than healthy females and also had slower growth rates. They did not differ in mean BMI or BMI trajectories. Furthermore, there were no differences in mean pituitary volume, or in pituitary trajectories.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that there are no gross morphological differences in pituitary volume in individuals with ICLP, although more subtle differences may exist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/pr.2012.12DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3637911PMC
May 2012

The genome portal of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute.

Nucleic Acids Res 2012 Jan 22;40(Database issue):D26-32. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, 2800 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, USA.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is a national user facility with massive-scale DNA sequencing and analysis capabilities dedicated to advancing genomics for bioenergy and environmental applications. Beyond generating tens of trillions of DNA bases annually, the Institute develops and maintains data management systems and specialized analytical capabilities to manage and interpret complex genomic data sets, and to enable an expanding community of users around the world to analyze these data in different contexts over the web. The JGI Genome Portal (http://genome.jgi.doe.gov) provides a unified access point to all JGI genomic databases and analytical tools. A user can find all DOE JGI sequencing projects and their status, search for and download assemblies and annotations of sequenced genomes, and interactively explore those genomes and compare them with other sequenced microbes, fungi, plants or metagenomes using specialized systems tailored to each particular class of organisms. We describe here the general organization of the Genome Portal and the most recent addition, MycoCosm (http://jgi.doe.gov/fungi), a new integrated fungal genomics resource.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr947DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3245080PMC
January 2012

The plant cell wall-decomposing machinery underlies the functional diversity of forest fungi.

Science 2011 Aug 14;333(6043):762-5. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

College of Science, University of Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.

Brown rot decay removes cellulose and hemicellulose from wood--residual lignin contributing up to 30% of forest soil carbon--and is derived from an ancestral white rot saprotrophy in which both lignin and cellulose are decomposed. Comparative and functional genomics of the "dry rot" fungus Serpula lacrymans, derived from forest ancestors, demonstrated that the evolution of both ectomycorrhizal biotrophy and brown rot saprotrophy were accompanied by reductions and losses in specific protein families, suggesting adaptation to an intercellular interaction with plant tissue. Transcriptome and proteome analysis also identified differences in wood decomposition in S. lacrymans relative to the brown rot Postia placenta. Furthermore, fungal nutritional mode diversification suggests that the boreal forest biome originated via genetic coevolution of above- and below-ground biota.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1205411DOI Listing
August 2011

Massive changes in genome architecture accompany the transition to self-fertility in the filamentous fungus Neurospora tetrasperma.

Genetics 2011 Sep 12;189(1):55-69. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3102, USA.

A large region of suppressed recombination surrounds the sex-determining locus of the self-fertile fungus Neurospora tetrasperma. This region encompasses nearly one-fifth of the N. tetrasperma genome and suppression of recombination is necessary for self-fertility. The similarity of the N. tetrasperma mating chromosome to plant and animal sex chromosomes and its recent origin (<5 MYA), combined with a long history of genetic and cytological research, make this fungus an ideal model for studying the evolutionary consequences of suppressed recombination. Here we compare genome sequences from two N. tetrasperma strains of opposite mating type to determine whether structural rearrangements are associated with the nonrecombining region and to examine the effect of suppressed recombination for the evolution of the genes within it. We find a series of three inversions encompassing the majority of the region of suppressed recombination and provide evidence for two different types of rearrangement mechanisms: the recently proposed mechanism of inversion via staggered single-strand breaks as well as ectopic recombination between transposable elements. In addition, we show that the N. tetrasperma mat a mating-type region appears to be accumulating deleterious substitutions at a faster rate than the other mating type (mat A) and thus may be in the early stages of degeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.111.130690DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176108PMC
September 2011

Finished genome of the fungal wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola reveals dispensome structure, chromosome plasticity, and stealth pathogenesis.

PLoS Genet 2011 Jun 9;7(6):e1002070. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

The plant-pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola (asexual stage: Septoria tritici) causes septoria tritici blotch, a disease that greatly reduces the yield and quality of wheat. This disease is economically important in most wheat-growing areas worldwide and threatens global food production. Control of the disease has been hampered by a limited understanding of the genetic and biochemical bases of pathogenicity, including mechanisms of infection and of resistance in the host. Unlike most other plant pathogens, M. graminicola has a long latent period during which it evades host defenses. Although this type of stealth pathogenicity occurs commonly in Mycosphaerella and other Dothideomycetes, the largest class of plant-pathogenic fungi, its genetic basis is not known. To address this problem, the genome of M. graminicola was sequenced completely. The finished genome contains 21 chromosomes, eight of which could be lost with no visible effect on the fungus and thus are dispensable. This eight-chromosome dispensome is dynamic in field and progeny isolates, is different from the core genome in gene and repeat content, and appears to have originated by ancient horizontal transfer from an unknown donor. Synteny plots of the M. graminicola chromosomes versus those of the only other sequenced Dothideomycete, Stagonospora nodorum, revealed conservation of gene content but not order or orientation, suggesting a high rate of intra-chromosomal rearrangement in one or both species. This observed "mesosynteny" is very different from synteny seen between other organisms. A surprising feature of the M. graminicola genome compared to other sequenced plant pathogens was that it contained very few genes for enzymes that break down plant cell walls, which was more similar to endophytes than to pathogens. The stealth pathogenesis of M. graminicola probably involves degradation of proteins rather than carbohydrates to evade host defenses during the biotrophic stage of infection and may have evolved from endophytic ancestors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111534PMC
June 2011

Comparative genomics of citric-acid-producing Aspergillus niger ATCC 1015 versus enzyme-producing CBS 513.88.

Genome Res 2011 Jun 4;21(6):885-97. Epub 2011 May 4.

Center for Microbial Biotechnology, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.

The filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger exhibits great diversity in its phenotype. It is found globally, both as marine and terrestrial strains, produces both organic acids and hydrolytic enzymes in high amounts, and some isolates exhibit pathogenicity. Although the genome of an industrial enzyme-producing A. niger strain (CBS 513.88) has already been sequenced, the versatility and diversity of this species compel additional exploration. We therefore undertook whole-genome sequencing of the acidogenic A. niger wild-type strain (ATCC 1015) and produced a genome sequence of very high quality. Only 15 gaps are present in the sequence, and half the telomeric regions have been elucidated. Moreover, sequence information from ATCC 1015 was used to improve the genome sequence of CBS 513.88. Chromosome-level comparisons uncovered several genome rearrangements, deletions, a clear case of strain-specific horizontal gene transfer, and identification of 0.8 Mb of novel sequence. Single nucleotide polymorphisms per kilobase (SNPs/kb) between the two strains were found to be exceptionally high (average: 7.8, maximum: 160 SNPs/kb). High variation within the species was confirmed with exo-metabolite profiling and phylogenetics. Detailed lists of alleles were generated, and genotypic differences were observed to accumulate in metabolic pathways essential to acid production and protein synthesis. A transcriptome analysis supported up-regulation of genes associated with biosynthesis of amino acids that are abundant in glucoamylase A, tRNA-synthases, and protein transporters in the protein producing CBS 513.88 strain. Our results and data sets from this integrative systems biology analysis resulted in a snapshot of fungal evolution and will support further optimization of cell factories based on filamentous fungi.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.112169.110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106321PMC
June 2011

Obligate biotrophy features unraveled by the genomic analysis of rust fungi.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 May 2;108(22):9166-71. Epub 2011 May 2.

Unité Mixte de Recherche 1136, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique/Nancy Université, Interactions Arbres/Micro-organismes, Centre de Nancy, 54280 Champenoux, France.

Rust fungi are some of the most devastating pathogens of crop plants. They are obligate biotrophs, which extract nutrients only from living plant tissues and cannot grow apart from their hosts. Their lifestyle has slowed the dissection of molecular mechanisms underlying host invasion and avoidance or suppression of plant innate immunity. We sequenced the 101-Mb genome of Melampsora larici-populina, the causal agent of poplar leaf rust, and the 89-Mb genome of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, the causal agent of wheat and barley stem rust. We then compared the 16,399 predicted proteins of M. larici-populina with the 17,773 predicted proteins of P. graminis f. sp tritici. Genomic features related to their obligate biotrophic lifestyle include expanded lineage-specific gene families, a large repertoire of effector-like small secreted proteins, impaired nitrogen and sulfur assimilation pathways, and expanded families of amino acid and oligopeptide membrane transporters. The dramatic up-regulation of transcripts coding for small secreted proteins, secreted hydrolytic enzymes, and transporters in planta suggests that they play a role in host infection and nutrient acquisition. Some of these genomic hallmarks are mirrored in the genomes of other microbial eukaryotes that have independently evolved to infect plants, indicating convergent adaptation to a biotrophic existence inside plant cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1019315108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3107277PMC
May 2011

Comparative genome sequence analysis underscores mycoparasitism as the ancestral life style of Trichoderma.

Genome Biol 2011 18;12(4):R40. Epub 2011 Apr 18.

Area Gene Technology and Applied Biochemistry, Institute of Chemical Engineering Vienna University of Technology, Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Vienna, Austria.

Background: Mycoparasitism, a lifestyle where one fungus is parasitic on another fungus, has special relevance when the prey is a plant pathogen, providing a strategy for biological control of pests for plant protection. Probably, the most studied biocontrol agents are species of the genus Hypocrea/Trichoderma.

Results: Here we report an analysis of the genome sequences of the two biocontrol species Trichoderma atroviride (teleomorph Hypocrea atroviridis) and Trichoderma virens (formerly Gliocladium virens, teleomorph Hypocrea virens), and a comparison with Trichoderma reesei (teleomorph Hypocrea jecorina). These three Trichoderma species display a remarkable conservation of gene order (78 to 96%), and a lack of active mobile elements probably due to repeat-induced point mutation. Several gene families are expanded in the two mycoparasitic species relative to T. reesei or other ascomycetes, and are overrepresented in non-syntenic genome regions. A phylogenetic analysis shows that T. reesei and T. virens are derived relative to T. atroviride. The mycoparasitism-specific genes thus arose in a common Trichoderma ancestor but were subsequently lost in T. reesei.

Conclusions: The data offer a better understanding of mycoparasitism, and thus enforce the development of improved biocontrol strains for efficient and environmentally friendly protection of plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2011-12-4-r40DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218866PMC
February 2012

The ecoresponsive genome of Daphnia pulex.

Science 2011 Feb;331(6017):555-61

Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Indiana University, 915 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

We describe the draft genome of the microcrustacean Daphnia pulex, which is only 200 megabases and contains at least 30,907 genes. The high gene count is a consequence of an elevated rate of gene duplication resulting in tandem gene clusters. More than a third of Daphnia's genes have no detectable homologs in any other available proteome, and the most amplified gene families are specific to the Daphnia lineage. The coexpansion of gene families interacting within metabolic pathways suggests that the maintenance of duplicated genes is not random, and the analysis of gene expression under different environmental conditions reveals that numerous paralogs acquire divergent expression patterns soon after duplication. Daphnia-specific genes, including many additional loci within sequenced regions that are otherwise devoid of annotations, are the most responsive genes to ecological challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1197761DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3529199PMC
February 2011

Genome sequence of the model mushroom Schizophyllum commune.

Nat Biotechnol 2010 Sep 11;28(9):957-63. Epub 2010 Jul 11.

Department of Microbiology and Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Much remains to be learned about the biology of mushroom-forming fungi, which are an important source of food, secondary metabolites and industrial enzymes. The wood-degrading fungus Schizophyllum commune is both a genetically tractable model for studying mushroom development and a likely source of enzymes capable of efficient degradation of lignocellulosic biomass. Comparative analyses of its 38.5-megabase genome, which encodes 13,210 predicted genes, reveal the species's unique wood-degrading machinery. One-third of the 471 genes predicted to encode transcription factors are differentially expressed during sexual development of S. commune. Whereas inactivation of one of these, fst4, prevented mushroom formation, inactivation of another, fst3, resulted in more, albeit smaller, mushrooms than in the wild-type fungus. Antisense transcripts may also have a role in the formation of fruiting bodies. Better insight into the mechanisms underlying mushroom formation should affect commercial production of mushrooms and their industrial use for producing enzymes and pharmaceuticals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.1643DOI Listing
September 2010