Publications by authors named "Braham Dhillon"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genome Wide Association Studies in Multiple Spinach Breeding Populations Refine Downy Mildew Race 13 Resistance Genes.

Front Plant Sci 2020 21;11:563187. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, United States.

Downy mildew, caused by the oomycete , is the most economically important disease on spinach. Fourteen new races of have been identified in the last three decades. The frequent emergence of new races of continually overcome the genetic resistance to the pathogen. The objectives of this research were to more clearly map the downy mildew resistance locus 1 in spinach, to identify single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers associated with the resistance, and to refine the candidate genes responsible for the resistance. Progeny from populations generated from crosses of cultivars resistant (due to 1) to race 13 of (Swan, T-Bird, Squirrel, and Tonga) with race 13 susceptible cultivars (Whale and Polka) were inoculated and the downy mildew disease response determined. Association analysis was performed in TASSEL, GAPIT, PLINK, and GENESIS programs using SNP markers identified from genotyping by sequencing (GBS). Association analysis mapped the race 13 resistance loci (1) to positions 0.39, 0.69, 0.94-0.98, and 1.2 Mb of chromosome 3. The associated SNPs were within 1-7 kb of the disease resistance genes Spo12784, Spo12719, Spo12905, and Spo12821, and 11-18 Kb from Spo12903. This study extended our understanding of the genetic basis of downy mildew resistance in spinach and provided the most promising candidate genes Spo12784 and Spo12903 near the 1 locus, to pursue functional validation. The SNP markers may be used to select for the resistant lines to improve genetic resistance against the downy mildew pathogen and in developing durably resistant cultivars.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.563187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609621PMC
October 2020

Sporangiospore Viability and Oospore Production in the Spinach Downy Mildew Pathogen, .

Plant Dis 2020 Oct 13;104(10):2634-2641. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

Downy mildew of spinach, caused by the obligate pathogen , remains the most important constraint in the major spinach production areas in the United States. This disease can potentially be initiated by asexual sporangiospores via "green bridges", sexually derived oospores from seed or soil, or dormant mycelium. However, the relative importance of the various types of primary inoculum is not well known. The ability of sporangiospores to withstand abiotic stress, such as desiccation, and remain viable during short- and long-distance dispersal and the ability of oospores to germinate and infect seedlings remain unclear. Thus, the primary objectives of this research were to evaluate the impact of desiccation on sporangiospore survival and infection efficiency and examine occurrence, production, and germination of oospores. Results indicate that desiccation significantly reduces sporangiospore viability as well as infection potential. Leaf wetness duration of 4 h was needed for disease establishment by spinach downy mildew sporangiospores. Oospores were observed in leaves of numerous commercial spinach cultivars grown in California in 2018 and Arizona in 2019. Frequency of occurrence varied between the two states-years. The presence of opposite mating types in spinach production areas in the United States was demonstrated by pairing isolates in controlled crosses and producing oospores on detached leaves as well as intact plants. Information from the study of variables that affect sporangiospore viability and oospore production will help in improving our understanding of the epidemiology of this important pathogen, which has implications for management of spinach downy mildew.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-02-20-0334-REDOI Listing
October 2020

Characterization of Leaf Spot Pathogens from Several Spinach Production Areas in the United States.

Plant Dis 2020 Jul 22;104(7):1994-2004. Epub 2020 May 22.

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

Leaf spot diseases have become a major concern in spinach production in the United States. Determining the causal agents of leaf spots on spinach, their prevalence and pathogenicity, and fungicide efficacy against these pathogens is vital for effective disease management. Spinach leaves with leaf spots were collected from Texas, California, Arizona, and South Carolina from 2016 to 2018, incubated in a moist chamber, and plated on potato dextrose and tryptic soy agar media. Fungal and bacterial colonies recovered were identified based on morphology and sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer rDNA and 16S rRNA, respectively. Two predominant genera were isolated: (i) spp., which were identified to species based on sequences of both introns of the glutamate synthetase (-I) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (-I) genes; and (ii) spp., identified to species based on sequences of the and calmodulin () genes. Anthracnose () and Stemphylium leaf spot ( and ) were the predominant diseases. Additional fungi recovered at very limited frequencies that were also pathogenic to spinach included , , , and . All of the bacterial isolates were not pathogenic on spinach. Pathogenicity tests showed that , , and caused significant leaf damage. The fungicides Bravo WeatherStik (chlorothalonil), Dithane F-45 (mancozeb), Cabrio (pyraclostrobin), and Merivon (fluxapyroxad and pyraclostrobin) were highly effective at reducing leaf spot severity caused by an isolate of each of and , when inoculated individually and in combination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-11-19-2450-REDOI Listing
July 2020

Variable genome evolution in fungi after transposon-mediated amplification of a housekeeping gene.

Mob DNA 2019 27;10:37. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

5U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN USA.

Background: Transposable elements (TEs) can be key drivers of evolution, but the mechanisms and scope of how they impact gene and genome function are largely unknown. Previous analyses revealed that TE-mediated gene amplifications can have variable effects on fungal genomes, from inactivation of function to production of multiple active copies. For example, a DNA methyltransferase gene in the wheat pathogen (synonym ) was amplified to tens of copies, all of which were inactivated by Repeat-Induced Point mutation (RIP) including the original, resulting in loss of cytosine methylation. In another wheat pathogen, , a histone H3 gene was amplified to tens of copies with little evidence of RIP, leading to many potentially active copies. To further test the effects of transposon-aided gene amplifications on genome evolution and architecture, the repetitive fraction of the significantly expanded genome of the banana pathogen, , was analyzed in greater detail.

Results: These analyses identified a housekeeping gene, histone H3, which was captured and amplified to hundreds of copies by a DNA transposon, all of which were inactivated by RIP, except for the original. In the original H3 gene probably was not protected from RIP, but most likely was maintained intact due to strong purifying selection. Comparative analyses revealed that a similar event occurred in five additional genomes representing the fungal genera , and .

Conclusions: These results indicate that the interplay of TEs and RIP can result in different and unpredictable fates of amplified genes, with variable effects on gene and genome evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13100-019-0177-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710886PMC
August 2019

Mitotic Recombination and Rapid Genome Evolution in the Invasive Forest Pathogen .

mBio 2019 03 12;10(2). Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Invasive alien species often have reduced genetic diversity and must adapt to new environments. Given the success of many invasions, this is sometimes called the genetic paradox of invasion. is invasive, limited to asexual reproduction within four lineages, and presumed clonal. It is responsible for sudden oak death in the United States, sudden larch death in Europe, and ramorum blight in North America and Europe. We sequenced the genomes of 107 isolates to determine how this pathogen can overcome the invasion paradox. Mitotic recombination (MR) associated with transposons and low gene density has generated runs of homozygosity (ROH) affecting 2,698 genes, resulting in novel genotypic diversity within the lineages. One ROH enriched in effectors was fixed in the NA1 lineage. An independent ROH affected the same scaffold in the EU1 lineage, suggesting an MR hot spot and a selection target. Differences in host infection between EU1 isolates with and without the ROH suggest that they may differ in aggressiveness. Non-core regions (not shared by all lineages) had signatures of accelerated evolution and were enriched in putative pathogenicity genes and transposons. There was a striking pattern of gene loss, including all effectors, in the non-core EU2 genome. Positive selection was observed in 8.0% of RxLR and 18.8% of Crinkler effector genes compared with 0.9% of the core eukaryotic gene set. We conclude that the lineages are diverging via a rapidly evolving non-core genome and that the invasive asexual lineages are not clonal, but display genotypic diversity caused by MR. Alien species are often successful invaders in new environments, despite the introduction of a few isolates with a reduced genetic pool. This is called the genetic paradox of invasion. We found two mechanisms by which the invasive forest pathogen causing sudden oak and sudden larch death can evolve. Extensive mitotic recombination producing runs of homozygosity generates genotypic diversity even in the absence of sexual reproduction, and rapid turnover of genes in the non-core, or nonessential portion of genome not shared by all isolates, allows pathogenicity genes to evolve rapidly or be eliminated while retaining essential genes. Mitotic recombination events occur in genomic hot spots, resulting in similar ROH patterns in different isolates or groups; one ROH, independently generated in two different groups, was enriched in pathogenicity genes and may be a target for selection. This provides important insights into the evolution of invasive alien pathogens and their potential for adaptation and future persistence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02452-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414701PMC
March 2019

Genome Sequences of Three Races of Peronospora effusa: A Resource for Studying the Evolution of the Spinach Downy Mildew Pathogen.

Mol Plant Microbe Interact 2018 12 15;31(12):1230-1231. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

1 Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701; and.

Downy mildew disease, caused by the obligate oomycete pathogen Peronospora effusa, is the most important economic constraint for spinach production. Three races (races 12, 13, and 14) of P. effusa have been sequenced and assembled. The draft genomes of these three races have been deposited to GenBank and provide useful resources for dissecting the interaction between the host and the pathogen and may provide a framework for determining the mechanism by which new races of the pathogen are rapidly emerging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-04-18-0085-ADOI Listing
December 2018

Genome-Enhanced Detection and Identification (GEDI) of plant pathogens.

PeerJ 2018 22;6:e4392. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Forest Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Plant diseases caused by fungi and Oomycetes represent worldwide threats to crops and forest ecosystems. Effective prevention and appropriate management of emerging diseases rely on rapid detection and identification of the causal pathogens. The increase in genomic resources makes it possible to generate novel genome-enhanced DNA detection assays that can exploit whole genomes to discover candidate genes for pathogen detection. A pipeline was developed to identify genome regions that discriminate taxa or groups of taxa and can be converted into PCR assays. The modular pipeline is comprised of four components: (1) selection and genome sequencing of phylogenetically related taxa, (2) identification of clusters of orthologous genes, (3) elimination of false positives by filtering, and (4) assay design. This pipeline was applied to some of the most important plant pathogens across three broad taxonomic groups: Phytophthoras (Stramenopiles, Oomycota), Dothideomycetes (Fungi, Ascomycota) and Pucciniales (Fungi, Basidiomycota). Comparison of 73 fungal and Oomycete genomes led the discovery of 5,939 gene clusters that were unique to the targeted taxa and an additional 535 that were common at higher taxonomic levels. Approximately 28% of the 299 tested were converted into qPCR assays that met our set of specificity criteria. This work demonstrates that a genome-wide approach can efficiently identify multiple taxon-specific genome regions that can be converted into highly specific PCR assays. The possibility to easily obtain multiple alternative regions to design highly specific qPCR assays should be of great help in tackling challenging cases for which higher taxon-resolution is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4392DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5825881PMC
February 2018

Development and Validation of Polymorphic Microsatellite Loci for the NA2 Lineage of Phytophthora ramorum from Whole Genome Sequence Data.

Plant Dis 2017 May 16;101(5):666-673. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

CFIA, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Phytophthora ramorum is the causal agent of sudden oak death and sudden larch death, and is also responsible for causing ramorum blight on woody ornamental plants. Many microsatellite markers are available to characterize the genetic diversity and population structure of P. ramorum. However, only two markers are polymorphic in the NA2 lineage, which is predominant in Canadian nurseries. Microsatellite motifs were mined from whole-genome sequence data of six P. ramorum NA2 isolates. Of the 43 microsatellite primer pairs selected, 13 loci displayed different allele sizes among the four P. ramorum lineages, 10 loci displayed intralineage variation in the EU1, EU2, and/or NA1 lineages, and 12 microsatellites displayed polymorphism in the NA2 lineage. Genotyping of 272 P. ramorum NA2 isolates collected in nurseries in British Columbia, Canada, from 2004 to 2013 revealed 12 multilocus genotypes (MLGs). One MLG was dominant when examined over time and across sampling locations, and only a few mutations separated the 12 MLGs. The NA2 population observed in Canadian nurseries also showed no signs of sexual recombination, similar to what has been observed in previous studies. The markers developed in this study can be used to assess P. ramorum inter- and intralineage genetic diversity and generate a better understanding of the population structure and migration patterns of this important plant pathogen, especially for the lesser-characterized NA2 lineage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-11-16-1586-REDOI Listing
May 2017

Genetic and genomic evidence of niche partitioning and adaptive radiation in mountain pine beetle fungal symbionts.

Mol Ecol 2017 Apr 22;26(7):2077-2091. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4.

Bark beetles form multipartite symbiotic associations with blue stain fungi (Ophiostomatales, Ascomycota). These fungal symbionts play an important role during the beetle's life cycle by providing nutritional supplementation, overcoming tree defences and modifying host tissues to favour brood development. The maintenance of stable multipartite symbioses with seemingly less competitive symbionts in similar habitats is of fundamental interest to ecology and evolution. We tested the hypothesis that the coexistence of three fungal species associated with the mountain pine beetle is the result of niche partitioning and adaptive radiation using SNP genotyping coupled with genotype-environment association analysis and phenotypic characterization of growth rate under different temperatures. We found that genetic variation and population structure within each species is best explained by distinct spatial and environmental variables. We observed both common (temperature seasonality and the host species) and distinct (drought, cold stress, precipitation) environmental and spatial factors that shaped the genomes of these fungi resulting in contrasting outcomes. Phenotypic intraspecific variations in Grosmannia clavigera and Leptographium longiclavatum, together with high heritability, suggest potential for adaptive selection in these species. By contrast, Ophiostoma montium displayed narrower intraspecific variation but greater tolerance to extreme high temperatures. Our study highlights unique phenotypic and genotypic characteristics in these symbionts that are consistent with our hypothesis. By maintaining this multipartite relationship, the bark beetles have a greater likelihood of obtaining the benefits afforded by the fungi and reduce the risk of being left aposymbiotic. Complementarity among species could facilitate colonization of new habitats and survival under adverse conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.14074DOI Listing
April 2017

Genome sequences of six species threatening forest ecosystems.

Genom Data 2016 Dec 3;10:85-88. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Institut de Biologie Intégrative des Systèmes, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.

The genus comprises of some of the most destructive plant pathogens and attack a wide range of hosts including economically valuable tree species, both angiosperm and gymnosperm. Many known species of are invasive and have been introduced through nursery and agricultural trade. As part of a larger project aimed at utilizing genomic data for forest disease diagnostics, pathogen detection and monitoring (The TAIGA project: Tree Aggressors Identification using Genomic Approaches; http://taigaforesthealth.com/), we sequenced the genomes of six important species that are important invasive pathogens of trees and a serious threat to the international trade of forest products. This genomic data was used to develop highly sensitive and specific detection assays and for genome comparisons and to make evolutionary inferences and will be useful to the broader plant and tree health community. These WGS data have been deposited in the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (DDBJ/ENA/GenBank) under the accession numbers AUPN01000000, AUVH01000000, AUWJ02000000, AUUF02000000, AWVV02000000 and AWVW02000000.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gdata.2016.09.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061060PMC
December 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

Colonization history, host distribution, anthropogenic influence and landscape features shape populations of white pine blister rust, an invasive alien tree pathogen.

PLoS One 2015 26;10(5):e0127916. Epub 2015 May 26.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Natural Resources Canada, Laurentian Forestry Centre, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

White pine blister rust is caused by the fungal pathogen Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fisch (Basidiomycota, Pucciniales). This invasive alien pathogen was introduced into North America at the beginning of the 20th century on pine seedlings imported from Europe and has caused serious economic and ecological impacts. In this study, we applied a population and landscape genetics approach to understand the patterns of introduction and colonization as well as population structure and migration of C. ribicola. We characterized 1,292 samples of C. ribicola from 66 geographic locations in North America using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and evaluated the effect of landscape features, host distribution, and colonization history on the structure of these pathogen populations. We identified eastern and western genetic populations in North America that are strongly differentiated. Genetic diversity is two to five times higher in eastern populations than in western ones, which can be explained by the repeated accidental introductions of the pathogen into northeastern North America compared with a single documented introduction into western North America. These distinct genetic populations are maintained by a barrier to gene flow that corresponds to a region where host connectivity is interrupted. Furthermore, additional cryptic spatial differentiation was identified in western populations. This differentiation corresponds to landscape features, such as mountain ranges, and also to host connectivity. We also detected genetic differentiation between the pathogen populations in natural stands and plantations, an indication that anthropogenic movement of this pathogen still takes place. These results highlight the importance of monitoring this invasive alien tree pathogen to prevent admixture of eastern and western populations where different pathogen races occur.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127916PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444259PMC
February 2016

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

The landscape of transposable elements in the finished genome of the fungal wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola.

BMC Genomics 2014 Dec 17;15:1132. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

USDA-ARS, Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit, Purdue University, 915 W. State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907-2054, USA.

Background: In addition to gene identification and annotation, repetitive sequence analysis has become an integral part of genome sequencing projects. Identification of repeats is important not only because it improves gene prediction, but also because of the role that repetitive sequences play in determining the structure and evolution of genes and genomes. Several methods using different repeat-finding strategies are available for whole-genome repeat sequence analysis. Four independent approaches were used to identify and characterize the repetitive fraction of the Mycosphaerella graminicola (synonym Zymoseptoria tritici) genome. This ascomycete fungus is a wheat pathogen and its finished genome comprises 21 chromosomes, eight of which can be lost with no obvious effects on fitness so are dispensable.

Results: Using a combination of four repeat-finding methods, at least 17% of the M. graminicola genome was estimated to be repetitive. Class I transposable elements, that amplify via an RNA intermediate, account for about 70% of the total repetitive content in the M. graminicola genome. The dispensable chromosomes had a higher percentage of repetitive elements as compared to the core chromosomes. Distribution of repeats across the chromosomes also varied, with at least six chromosomes showing a non-random distribution of repetitive elements. Repeat families showed transition mutations and a CpA → TpA dinucleotide bias, indicating the presence of a repeat-induced point mutation (RIP)-like mechanism in M. graminicola. One gene family and two repeat families specific to subtelomeres also were identified in the M. graminicola genome. A total of 78 putative clusters of nested elements was found in the M. graminicola genome. Several genes with putative roles in pathogenicity were found associated with these nested repeat clusters. This analysis of the transposable element content in the finished M. graminicola genome resulted in a thorough and highly curated database of repetitive sequences.

Conclusions: This comprehensive analysis will serve as a scaffold to address additional biological questions regarding the origin and fate of transposable elements in fungi. Future analyses of the distribution of repetitive sequences in M. graminicola also will be able to provide insights into the association of repeats with genes and their potential role in gene and genome evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-15-1132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522978PMC
December 2014

Single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery in Leptographium longiclavatum, a mountain pine beetle-associated symbiotic fungus, using whole-genome resequencing.

Mol Ecol Resour 2014 Mar 29;14(2):401-10. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4.

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are rapidly becoming the standard markers in population genomics studies; however, their use in nonmodel organisms is limited due to the lack of cost-effective approaches to uncover genome-wide variation, and the large number of individuals needed in the screening process to reduce ascertainment bias. To discover SNPs for population genomics studies in the fungal symbionts of the mountain pine beetle (MPB), we developed a road map to discover SNPs and to produce a genotyping platform. We undertook a whole-genome sequencing approach of Leptographium longiclavatum in combination with available genomics resources of another MPB symbiont, Grosmannia clavigera. We sequenced 71 individuals pooled into four groups using the Illumina sequencing technology. We generated between 27 and 30 million reads of 75 bp that resulted in a total of 1, 181 contigs longer than 2 kb and an assembled genome size of 28.9 Mb (N50 = 48 kb, average depth = 125x). A total of 9052 proteins were annotated, and between 9531 and 17,266 SNPs were identified in the four pools. A subset of 206 genes (containing 574 SNPs, 11% false positives) was used to develop a genotyping platform for this species. Using this roadmap, we developed a genotyping assay with a total of 147 SNPs located in 121 genes using the Illumina(®) Sequenom iPLEX Gold. Our preliminary genotyping (success rate = 85%) of 304 individuals from 36 populations supports the utility of this approach for population genomics studies in other MPB fungal symbionts and other fungal nonmodel species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.12191DOI Listing
March 2014

Unequal recombination and evolution of the mating-type (MAT) loci in the pathogenic fungus Grosmannia clavigera and relatives.

G3 (Bethesda) 2013 Mar 1;3(3):465-80. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.

Sexual reproduction in fungi is regulated by the mating-type (MAT) locus where recombination is suppressed. We investigated the evolution of MAT loci in eight fungal species belonging to Grosmannia and Ophiostoma (Sordariomycetes, Ascomycota) that include conifer pathogens and beetle symbionts. The MAT1-2 idiomorph/allele was identified from the assembled and annotated Grosmannia clavigera genome, and the MAT locus is flanked by genes coding for cytoskeleton protein (SLA) and DNA lyase. The synteny of these genes is conserved and consistent with other members in Ascomycota. Using sequences from SLA and flanking regions, we characterized the MAT1-1 idiomorph from other isolates of G. clavigera and performed dotplot analysis between the two idiomorphs. Unexpectedly, the MAT1-2 idiomorph contains a truncated MAT1-1-1 gene upstream of the MAT1-2-1 gene that bears the high-mobility-group domain. The nucleotide and amino acid sequence of the truncated MAT1-1-1 gene is similar to its homologous copy in the MAT1-1 idiomorph in the opposite mating-type isolate, except that positive selection is acting on the truncated gene and the alpha(α)-box that encodes the transcription factor has been deleted. The MAT idiomorphs sharing identical gene organization were present in seven additional species in the Ophiostomatales, suggesting that the presence of truncated MAT1-1-1 gene is a general pattern in this order. We propose that an ancient unequal recombination event resulted in the ancestral MAT1-1-1 gene integrated into the MAT1-2 idiomorph and surviving as the truncated MAT1-1-1 genes. The α-box domain of MAT1-1-1 gene, located at the same MAT locus adjacent to the MAT1-2-1 gene, could have been removed by deletion after recombination due to mating signal interference. Our data confirmed a 1:1 MAT/sex ratio in two pathogen populations, and showed that all members of the Ophiostomatales studied here including those that were previously deemed asexual have the potential to reproduce sexually. This ability can potentially increase genetic variability and can enhance fitness in new, ecological niches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/g3.112.004986DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583454PMC
March 2013

Comparative genome structure, secondary metabolite, and effector coding capacity across Cochliobolus pathogens.

PLoS Genet 2013 24;9(1):e1003233. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.

The genomes of five Cochliobolus heterostrophus strains, two Cochliobolus sativus strains, three additional Cochliobolus species (Cochliobolus victoriae, Cochliobolus carbonum, Cochliobolus miyabeanus), and closely related Setosphaeria turcica were sequenced at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI). The datasets were used to identify SNPs between strains and species, unique genomic regions, core secondary metabolism genes, and small secreted protein (SSP) candidate effector encoding genes with a view towards pinpointing structural elements and gene content associated with specificity of these closely related fungi to different cereal hosts. Whole-genome alignment shows that three to five percent of each genome differs between strains of the same species, while a quarter of each genome differs between species. On average, SNP counts among field isolates of the same C. heterostrophus species are more than 25× higher than those between inbred lines and 50× lower than SNPs between Cochliobolus species. The suites of nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS), polyketide synthase (PKS), and SSP-encoding genes are astoundingly diverse among species but remarkably conserved among isolates of the same species, whether inbred or field strains, except for defining examples that map to unique genomic regions. Functional analysis of several strain-unique PKSs and NRPSs reveal a strong correlation with a role in virulence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003233DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554632PMC
May 2013

Comparative genomics of a plant-pathogenic fungus, Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, reveals transduplication and the impact of repeat elements on pathogenicity and population divergence.

G3 (Bethesda) 2013 Jan 1;3(1):41-63. Epub 2013 Jan 1.

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-8530, USA.

Pyrenophora tritici-repentis is a necrotrophic fungus causal to the disease tan spot of wheat, whose contribution to crop loss has increased significantly during the last few decades. Pathogenicity by this fungus is attributed to the production of host-selective toxins (HST), which are recognized by their host in a genotype-specific manner. To better understand the mechanisms that have led to the increase in disease incidence related to this pathogen, we sequenced the genomes of three P. tritici-repentis isolates. A pathogenic isolate that produces two known HSTs was used to assemble a reference nuclear genome of approximately 40 Mb composed of 11 chromosomes that encode 12,141 predicted genes. Comparison of the reference genome with those of a pathogenic isolate that produces a third HST, and a nonpathogenic isolate, showed the nonpathogen genome to be more diverged than those of the two pathogens. Examination of gene-coding regions has provided candidate pathogen-specific proteins and revealed gene families that may play a role in a necrotrophic lifestyle. Analysis of transposable elements suggests that their presence in the genome of pathogenic isolates contributes to the creation of novel genes, effector diversification, possible horizontal gene transfer events, identified copy number variation, and the first example of transduplication by DNA transposable elements in fungi. Overall, comparative analysis of these genomes provides evidence that pathogenicity in this species arose through an influx of transposable elements, which created a genetically flexible landscape that can easily respond to environmental changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/g3.112.004044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538342PMC
January 2013

Diverse lifestyles and strategies of plant pathogenesis encoded in the genomes of eighteen Dothideomycetes fungi.

PLoS Pathog 2012 6;8(12):e1003037. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

United States Department of Energy DOE Joint Genome Institute JGI, Walnut Creek, California, United States of America.

The class Dothideomycetes is one of the largest groups of fungi with a high level of ecological diversity including many plant pathogens infecting a broad range of hosts. Here, we compare genome features of 18 members of this class, including 6 necrotrophs, 9 (hemi)biotrophs and 3 saprotrophs, to analyze genome structure, evolution, and the diverse strategies of pathogenesis. The Dothideomycetes most likely evolved from a common ancestor more than 280 million years ago. The 18 genome sequences differ dramatically in size due to variation in repetitive content, but show much less variation in number of (core) genes. Gene order appears to have been rearranged mostly within chromosomal boundaries by multiple inversions, in extant genomes frequently demarcated by adjacent simple repeats. Several Dothideomycetes contain one or more gene-poor, transposable element (TE)-rich putatively dispensable chromosomes of unknown function. The 18 Dothideomycetes offer an extensive catalogue of genes involved in cellulose degradation, proteolysis, secondary metabolism, and cysteine-rich small secreted proteins. Ancestors of the two major orders of plant pathogens in the Dothideomycetes, the Capnodiales and Pleosporales, may have had different modes of pathogenesis, with the former having fewer of these genes than the latter. Many of these genes are enriched in proximity to transposable elements, suggesting faster evolution because of the effects of repeat induced point (RIP) mutations. A syntenic block of genes, including oxidoreductases, is conserved in most Dothideomycetes and upregulated during infection in L. maculans, suggesting a possible function in response to oxidative stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516569PMC
May 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

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

Identification and annotation of repetitive sequences in fungal genomes.

Methods Mol Biol 2011 ;722:33-50

USDA-ARS, Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Advances in sequencing technologies have fundamentally changed the pace of genome sequencing projects and have contributed to the ever-increasing volume of genomic data. This has been paralleled by an increase in computational power and resources to process and translate raw sequence data into meaningful information. In addition to protein coding regions, an integral part of all the genomes studied so far has been the presence of repetitive sequences. Previously considered as "junk," numerous studies have implicated repetitive sequences in important biological and structural roles in the genome. Therefore, the identification and characterization of these repetitive sequences has become an indispensable part of genome sequencing projects. Numerous similarity-based and de novo methods have been developed to search for and annotate repeats in the genome, many of which have been discussed in this chapter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-61779-040-9_3DOI Listing
September 2011

Accidental amplification and inactivation of a methyltransferase gene eliminates cytosine methylation in Mycosphaerella graminicola.

Genetics 2010 Sep 6;186(1):67-77. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.

A de novo search for repetitive elements in the genome sequence of the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola identified a family of repeats containing a DNA cytosine methyltransferase sequence (MgDNMT). All 23 MgDNMT sequences identified carried signatures of repeat induced point mutation (RIP). All copies were subtelomeric in location except for one on chromosome 6. Synteny with M. fijiensis implied that the nontelomeric copy on chromosome 6 served as a template for subsequent amplifications. Southern analysis revealed that the MgDNMT sequence also was amplified in 15 additional M. graminicola isolates from various geographical regions. However, this amplification event was specific to M. graminicola; a search for MgDNMT homologs identified only a single, unmutated copy in the genomes of 11 other ascomycetes. A genome-wide methylation assay revealed that M. graminicola lacks cytosine methylation, as expected if its MgDNMT gene is inactivated. Methylation was present in several other species tested, including the closest known relatives of M. graminicola, species S1 and S2. Therefore, the observed changes most likely occurred within the past 10,500 years since the divergence between M. graminicola and S1. Our data indicate that the recent amplification of a single-copy MgDNMT gene made it susceptible to RIP, resulting in complete loss of cytosine methylation in M. graminicola.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.110.117408DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2940312PMC
September 2010

Analyses of expressed sequence tags from the maize foliar pathogen Cercospora zeae-maydis identify novel genes expressed during vegetative, infectious, and reproductive growth.

BMC Genomics 2008 Nov 4;9:523. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA.

Background: The ascomycete fungus Cercospora zeae-maydis is an aggressive foliar pathogen of maize that causes substantial losses annually throughout the Western Hemisphere. Despite its impact on maize production, little is known about the regulation of pathogenesis in C. zeae-maydis at the molecular level. The objectives of this study were to generate a collection of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from C. zeae-maydis and evaluate their expression during vegetative, infectious, and reproductive growth.

Results: A total of 27,551 ESTs was obtained from five cDNA libraries constructed from vegetative and sporulating cultures of C. zeae-maydis. The ESTs, grouped into 4088 clusters and 531 singlets, represented 4619 putative unique genes. Of these, 36% encoded proteins similar (E value < or = 10(-05)) to characterized or annotated proteins from the NCBI non-redundant database representing diverse molecular functions and biological processes based on Gene Ontology (GO) classification. We identified numerous, previously undescribed genes with potential roles in photoreception, pathogenesis, and the regulation of development as well as Zephyr, a novel, actively transcribed transposable element. Differential expression of selected genes was demonstrated by real-time PCR, supporting their proposed roles in vegetative, infectious, and reproductive growth.

Conclusion: Novel genes that are potentially involved in regulating growth, development, and pathogenesis were identified in C. zeae-maydis, providing specific targets for characterization by molecular genetics and functional genomics. The EST data establish a foundation for future studies in evolutionary and comparative genomics among species of Cercospora and other groups of plant pathogenic fungi.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-9-523DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596140PMC
November 2008