Start Date: Feb 01, 2010
End Date: Jan 31, 2013
With the development of whole genome sequence assemblies for F. graminearum, F. oxysporum, F. verticillioides, and F. solani, we have described conserved genes and other structural elements. For this study, these sequence data and the improved accuracy of gene predictions resulting from comparative analysis will allow for the construction of a highly accurate, genome-wide microarray for the three most closely related Fusarium species (Objective 1). Further objectives seek to extend comparative analysis by looking for conserved patterns of gene expression among the three fungi under a variety of environmental conditions including during plant infection (Objective 2) and sporulation (Objective 3). The significance of conserved non-coding regions will be tested by their correlation with genes exhibiting conserved expression patterns. Physical proximity of conserved co-expressed genes may be used to define functional gene clusters. Because phenotypic similarities and differences exist among the species, comparative gene expression patterns can be placed in a biological context. Thus conserved patterns of gene expression among species will be discovered during, for example, fungal challenge of compatible hosts or during ascospore development. We hypothesize that conserved patterns of gene expression may reflect evolutionary constrain based on their functional significance to the developmental process being studied. For both plant infection (Objective 2) and reproduction (Objective 3), we intend to test this hypothesis by deleting selected genes such as stage-specific transcription factors, to determine their effect on fungal development. To make results from proposed study and comparative analyses accessible for the community users, a coherent database incorporating comparative structural and functional data (Objective 4) will be constructed.