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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Cereal Disease Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372350

Research Project: Fusarium Head Blight of Cereals: Pathogen Biology, Associated Phytobiome, and Host Resistance

Location: Cereal Disease Lab

Title: The genome of opportunistic fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum carries a unique set of lineage-specific chromosomes

item ZHANG, YONG - University Of Massachusetts
item YANG, HE - University Of Massachusetts
item TURRA, DAVID - Universidad De Cordoba
item ZHOU, SHIGUO - University Of Wisconsin
item AYHAN, DILAY - University Of Massachusetts
item DELULIO, GREGORY - University Of Massachusetts
item GUO, LI - University Of Massachusetts
item Broz, Karen
item WIEDERHOLD, NATHAN - University Of Texas
item COLEMAN, JEFFREY - Auburn University
item O Donnell, Kerry
item YOUNGSTER, ILAN - Boston Children'S Hospital
item MCADAM, ALEXANDER - Boston Children'S Hospital
item SAVINOV, SERGEY - University Of Massachusetts
item SHEA, TERRANCE - Broad Institute Of Mit/harvard
item YOUNG, SARAH - Broad Institute Of Mit/harvard
item ZENG, QIANDONG - Broad Institute Of Mit/harvard
item REP, MARTIJN - University Of Amsterdam
item PEARLMAN, ERIC - University Of California
item SCHWARTZ, DAVID - University Of Wisconsin
item DI PIETRO, ANTONIO - Universidad De Cordoba
item Kistler, Harold
item MA, LI-JUN - University Of Massachusetts

Submitted to: Communications Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2020
Publication Date: 1/31/2020
Citation: Zhang, Y., Yang, H., Turra, D., Zhou, S., Ayhan, D.H., Delulio, G.A., Guo, L., Broz, K.L., Wiederhold, N., Coleman, J.J., O Donnell, K., Youngster, I., McAdam, A.J., Savinov, S., Shea, T., Young, S., Zeng, Q., Rep, M., Pearlman, E., Schwartz, D.C., Di Pietro, A., Kistler, H.C., Ma, L. 2020. The genome of opportunistic fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum carries a unique set of lineage-specific chromosomes. Communications Biology. 3:50.

Interpretive Summary: Opportunistic fungi are important causes of death in immunocompromised individuals. Due to the limited availability of effective treatments against eukaryotic pathogens and persistent pathogen resistance to current antifungal agents, infections caused by opportunistic fungi pose an increasing threat to public health. Fusarium oxysporum is one of the causal agents of fusariosis, the second most common opportunistic infection caused by filamentous fungi after aspergillosis. Fusariosis infections have high mortality rates among immunocompromised patients. In addition to having multiple clinical manifestations, F.oxysporum isolates also cause devastating plant vascular wilt diseases. Our studies of plant pathogenic F. oxysporum genomes revealed that horizontally transferred supernumerary (SP) chromosomes convey host-specific pathogenicity. This study describes the genome of an F. oxysporum clinical isolate collected from the blood of an infected patient and reveals for the first time four unique SP chromosomes that are distinct from any SP chromosomes found in plant pathogens. Functional annotation confirmed that these SP chromosomes contribute to pathogen adaptation to human body conditions and may cause human diseases. Our understanding of pathogen adaptability, especially in establishing cross-kingdom virulence, may be used to develop novel antifungal therapies.

Technical Abstract: Fusarium oxysporum is a cross-kingdom fungal pathogen that infects plants and humans. Horizontally transferred lineage-specific (LS) chromosomes were reported to determine hostspecific pathogenicity among phytopathogenic F. oxysporum. However, the existence and functional importance of LS chromosomes among human pathogenic isolates are unknown. Here we report four unique LS chromosomes in a human pathogenic strain NRRL 32931, isolated from a leukemia patient. These LS chromosomes were devoid of housekeeping genes, but were significantly enriched in genes encoding metal ion transporters and cation transporters. Homologs of NRRL 32931 LS genes, including a homolog of ceruloplasmin and the genes that contribute to the expansion of the alkaline pH-responsive transcription factor PacC/Rim1p, were also present in the genome of NRRL 47514, a strain associated with Fusarium keratitis outbreak. This study provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, for genomic compartmentalization in two human pathogenic fungal genomes and suggests an important role of LS chromosomes in niche adaptation.