|Van Themaat, E|
Submitted to: Nature Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2012
Publication Date: 8/12/2012
Citation: O'Connell, R.J., Thon, M.R., Hacquard, S., Van Themaat, E.V., Amyotte, S., Kleemann, J., Torres-Quintero, M., Damm, U., Buiate, E., Epstein, L., Alkan, N., Altmuller, J., Alvarado, B.L., Bauser, C., Becker, C., Birren, B.W., Chen, Z., Crouch, J., Duvick, J., Farman, M., Gan, P., Heiman, D., Henrissat, B., Howard, R.J., Kabbage, M., Koch, C., Kubo, Y., Law, A., Lebrun, M.H., Lee, Y.H., Miyara, L., Moore, N., Neumann, U., Panaccione, D.G., Panstruga, R., Place, M., Proctor, R., Prusky, D., Rech, G., Reinhardt, R., Rollins, J.A., Rounsley, S., Schardl, C., Schwartz, D.C., Shenoy, N., Shirasu, K., Stuber, K., Sukno, S.A., Sweigard, J.A., Takano, Y., Takahara, H., Vanderdoes, H.C., Voll, L., Will, I., Young, S., Zeng, Q., Zhang, J., Zhou, S., Dickman, M.B., Schulze-Lefert, P., Ma, L.J., Vaillancourt, L.J. 2012. Life-style transitions in plant pathogenic Colletotrichum fungi deciphered by genome and transcriptome analyses. Nature Genetics. 44:1060-1065. Interpretive Summary: Fungi cause billions of dollars damage to agricultural crops and natural resources in the United States each year. How fungi cause disease is not known especially at the very basic level of genes. Using a model fungal pathogen the process of causing disease was investigated to determine which genes control the beginning steps of infecting a plant. It was determined that the plant and the fungus interact at the genetic level with the fungus causing the plant to produce signals that determine which genes of the fungus are expressed. This controls the ability of the fungus to infect the plant. Determining the genetic basis for how fungi infect plants and the interactions between a fungus and its host will be useful to scientists who are working to control diseases caused by fungi.
Technical Abstract: Colletotrichum species are devastating fungal pathogens of major crop plants worldwide. Infection involves differentiation of specialized cell-types associated with host surface penetration, growth inside living host cells (biotrophy) and tissue destruction (necrotrophy). Here we report genome and transcriptome analyses of C. higginsianum (Ch) infecting Arabidopsis thaliana and C. graminicola (Cg) infecting maize (Zea mays). Comparative genomics showed these fungi have similar sets of pathogenicity-related genes, but families of secreted effector proteins, pectin-degrading enzymes, secondary metabolism (SM) enzymes, transporters and peptidases are markedly expanded in Ch. Genome-wide expression profiling supported the functional importance of these expanded gene families and revealed that they are transcribed in successive waves linked to each pathogenic transition: genes encoding effectors and SM enzymes are induced early, before penetration and during biotrophy, while hydrolase and membrane transporter genes are up-regulated later, at the switch from biotrophy to necrotrophy. Our findings demonstrate that the pre-invasion perception of plant-derived signals dramatically reprograms early fungal gene expression, and disclose novel functions for fungal infection structures.