Category Archives: fungi

Announcing FungiDB 2.1 release

On behalf of the FungiDB development team I am pleased to announce the release of FungiDB 2.1 which includes 39 Fungal genomes from Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Mucormycotina (Zygomycota) and 6 genomes of Oomycetes.  This release builds on the 2.0 release from August to include 6 additional species, RNA-Seq from a population of Neurospora strains, growth time points in 3 fungi Coprinopsis, Neurospora, and Rhizopus, and Phytophthora species. The 6 new genomes include Batrachochytrium dendrobatidisCoprinopsis cinereusHistoplasma capsulatumCoccidioides posadasii, Rhizopus delemar (formerly oryzae), and Ustilago maydis.

While the Oomycetes are not true Fungi, as phylogenetically they are in a very distinctly different clade, however we have included them in the database as part of collaboration with Brett Tyler. It may be that some aspects of the convergent evolutionary patterns among these groups can be revealed by having the data in a common system and use of the same tools.

Several human pathogenic and opportunistic fungi are now available in the system including 2 strains of Histoplasma capsulatum and 2 species of Coccidioides, Candida albicans, 2 Cryptococcus gattii strains, C. neoformans var grubii, and 2 C. neoformans var neoformans strains, Fusarium oxysporumAspergillus fumigatus and A. terreus. With the homolog tools available in the FungiDB system, one can map functional data from onto genes in these fungi from related models in the filamentous or yeast species.

Plant pathogens Magnaporthe grisea, Ustilago maydis, Puccinia graminis, and several Fusarium species, and the collection of 6 Oomycetes also provide a platform for comparative genomics among plant pathogens.

Functional annotation data have been imported from model system databases for Aspergillus nidulans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and C. albicans.  We also generate predicted GO annotations from InterPro based analyses.

The development team at UC Riverside including Raghu Ramamurthy, past member Daniel Borcherding, and new member Edward Liaw; our collaborators on Oomycete data at Oregon State Brett Tyler and Sucheta Tripathy; and the EuPathDB developers and systems teams that have been essential partners in everything from assisting in data development and software debugging to database administration and web and systems administration.

Future work

Work is likely to begin in the next quarter to curate and support further literature based annotation of gene function in the Cryptococcus species. In addition we plan to expand the supported phenotypic data for Neurospora to support work from the Program Project grant and the phenotyping of the systematic gene deletion collection.

Additional support will be rolled out for more functional and evolutionary genomics data including expanded RNA-Seq datasets, population genetic data sets for several species with cohorts of sequencing of strain populations. We plan to continue to add additional species, with priorities focused on pathogens and model systems, but are interested in the community feedback of specific species that are must include targets in future releases. Please email help[AT] with your suggestions or fill out feedback on the “Contact Us” link on the FungiDB page.

The work in this release was supported by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.The Oregon State team is supported by grants from the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative of the  USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.  The EuPathDB team is supported by grants from the NIH, Gates Foundation, and Wellcome Trust. Without the direct and indirect support of these funders none of this would have been possible.  All web and computational resources for FungiDB are currently housed at the Univ of Pennsylvania or the University of Georgia, thanks to the many system administrators who keep these services running that have allowed us to make this release.

Recent animal-associated fungal genome papers

The genomes of five dermatophyte fungi were sequenced and the analyses of their lifestyles presented in a new paper out in mBio in Martinez et al. 2012. The authors were able to identify gene family changes that associate with lifestyle changes including proteases that can degrade keratin suggesting how these species have adapted to obtaining nutrients from an animal host. The continued finding of fungal-specific kinase families in these fungi, extending the observations from previous studies in Coprinopsis and Paracoccidioides on the FunK1 kinase family, makes me hope we will some day get some molecular information on the specificity of these families in addition to these copy number observations.
Another paper published in Genome Research this summer from Emily Troemel‘s lab and the Broad Institute describes the sequencing of two microsporidia species that are natural parasites of Caenorhabditis.The paper reveals some suprising things about Microsporidia evolution including the presence of a clade-specific nucleoside H+ symporter which is only found in bacteria and some eukaryotes and not in any Fungi. The phyletic distribution suggested it was acquired more recently and couple from lateral gene transfer. This acquisition likely helps the microsporidia cells obtain nucleosides from the host since the parasite cannot synthesize these. There is also evidence of evolution of microsporidia-specific secretion signals in the hexokinases which may be a mechanism for delivery of these enzymes into host cells to catalyze rapid growth once inside the host. Many more gems in this paper including phylogenetic placement of the microsporidia from phylogenomic approaches (also see related recent work from Toni Gabaldon‘s lab).

Vote for some Fungi in Open Tree of Life project

Consider voting for for some Fungi in the Open Tree of Life project. Pathogens, model systems, and any charismatic (or non-charismatic if like) organisms can be proposed to be included in a tree that will serve as teaching and communicating the tree of life.

[From Laura Katz]
Dear Colleagues,

We need your help creating a list of exemplar species from across the tree of life!

As our team works to build an open tree of life for the systematics community, we are also working on an educational version of the tree for the public. Our goal is to depict about 200 better-known (i.e. phylogenetically or otherwise important in some way (pathogen,
food source, etc.)) species from all three domains of life. The intended audience of this effort includes educators, students, and the public in general.

Please follow the link below to vote for your 5 best exemplars…

And please join the conversation through our website, email (, or twitter (@opentreeoflife).

Thank you!

Few fungi+host papers

Three papers on some cool fungi that interact with hosts and I recommend them for a good read.

One is coverage of by Ed Yong on rice blast (Magnaporthae orzyae) on paper from Nick Talbot and Gero Steinberg‘s lab on appressorium development in Science this week.

A paper from my lab on role of an expansion of copy number of a chitin-binding domain in the amphibian pathogen B. dendrobatidis.

New Scientist also provides a nice summary of tripartite symbiosis paper on Metarhizium, insects, and plants from Mike Bidochka’s lab.