A review in Plant Cell from Darren Soanes and colleagues summarizes some of the major findings about evolution of phytopathogenic fungi gleaned from genome sequencing highlighting 12 fungi and 2 oomycetes. By mapping evolution of genes identified as virulence factors as well as genes that appear to have similar patterns of diversification, we can hope to derive some principals about how phytopathogenic fungi have evolved from saprophyte ancestors.
They infer from phylogenies we’ve published (Fitzpatrick et al, James et al) that plant pathogenic capabilities have arisen at least 5 times in the fungi and at least 7 times in the eukaryotes. In addition they use data on gene duplication and loss in the ascomycete fungi (Wapinski et al) to infer there large numbers of losses and gains of genes have occurred in fungal lineages.
The Stagonospra nodorum (teleomorph Phaeosphaeria nodorum) genome is now published in Plant Cell, “Sequencing and EST Analysis of the Wheat Pathogen Stagonospora nodorum”. The paper describes the sequencing and analysis of this Dothideomycete fungus. The analyses included identifying genes likely involved in pathogenecity such as PKS and NRPS genes and enabled the discovery of new genes like ToxA.
The JGI have released the genome sequence and annotation of the Mycosphaerella fijiensis fungus an important crop pathogen of bananas. This Dothideomycete fungus is one of several in the clade of important plant pathogens that have been sequenced recently including M. gramicola, a relative that causes wheat-blotch.
Several more fungi are on the docket for sequencing at JGI through their community sequencing program. This includes
This complements an ever growing list of fungal genome sequences which is probably topping 80+ now not including the several dozen strains of Saccharomyces that are being sequenced at Sanger Centre and a separately funded NIH project to be sequenced at WashU.
The genome of Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, the fourth sequenced Dothideomycete genome, was released by the FGI at the Broad Institute this spring (March 2007). P. tiritici-repentis was sequenced for its role as the cause of tan spot on wheat and as a research model for other Pyrenophora sp. that are pathogens of several grasses.
The 6X assembly contains 37.8 Mb of sequence similar to the other Dothideomycetes such as Stagnospora nodorum (37.2 Mb), Alternaria brassicola (32 Mb), and Mycosphaerella graminicola (41.8 Mb).
I’m including a recapping as many of the talks as I remember. There were 6 concurrent sessions each afternoon so you have to miss a lot of talks. The conference was bursting at the seams as it was- at least 140 people had to be turned away beyond the 750 who attended.
If there was any theme in the conference it was “Hey we are all using these genome sequences we’ve been talking about getting”. I only found the overview talks that solely describe the genome solely a little dry as compared to those more focused on particular questions. I guess my genome palate is becoming refined.