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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389619

Research Project: Development of New and Improved Surveillance, Detection, Control, and Management Technologies for Fruit Flies and Invasive Pests of Tropical and Subtropical Crops

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: The Aphelenchus avenae genome highlights evolutionary adaptation to desiccation

Author
item WAN, XUEHUA - University Of Hawaii
item SAITO, JENNIFER - University Of Hawaii
item HOU, SHAOBIN - University Of Hawaii
item Geib, Scott
item YURYEV, ANTON - Elsevier Life Sciences
item HIGA, LYNNE - University Of Hawaii
item WOMERSLEY, CHRISTOPHER - University Of Hawaii
item ALAM, MAQSUDUL - University Of Hawaii

Submitted to: Communications Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/9/2021
Publication Date: 10/28/2021
Citation: Wan, X., Saito, J.A., Hou, S., Geib, S.M., Yuryev, A., Higa, L.M., Womersley, C.Z., Alam, M. 2021. The Aphelenchus avenae genome highlights evolutionary adaptation to desiccation. Communications Biology. 4:1232. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02778-8.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02778-8

Interpretive Summary: The fungus feeding nematode Aphelenchus avenae can survive for years fully dessicated in absence of water. The biological basis allowing survival of this species at the molecular level is unknown and largely remains a mystery across most animals that can survive similar conditions. Here, using a combination of whole genome reconstruction and gene expression characterization, we identified characteristics of this organisms genome which may allow it to survive dessication. Most notable is a relatively large genome size, compared to other nematodes, and large expansion and duplication of kinases and several other gene families. Looking at expression of genes during dessication and rehydration, we showed that A. avenae reprogrammed its global metabolisms during dessication events. Our findings refine a molecular basis evolving for survival in extreme water loss and open the way for discovering new anti-desiccation strategies and further functional characterization of these protective molecules will provide insights to desiccation survival.

Technical Abstract: Some organisms can withstand complete body water loss (losing up to 99% of body water) and stay in ametabolic state for decades until rehydration, which is known as anhydrobiosis. Few multicellular eukaryotes on their adult stage can withstand life without water. We still have an incomplete understanding of the mechanism for metazoan survival of anhydrobiosis. Here we report the 255-Mb genome of Aphelenchus avenae, which can endure relative zero humidity for years. Gene duplications arose genome-wide and contributed to the expansion and diversification of 763 kinases, which represents the second largest metazoan kinome to date. Transcriptome analyses of ametabolic state of A. avenae indicate the elevation of ATP level for global recycling of macromolecules and enhancement of autophagy in the early stage of anhydrobiosis. We catalogued 74 species-specific intrinsically disordered proteins, which may facilitate A. avenae to survive through desiccation stress. Our findings refine a molecular basis evolving for survival in extreme water loss and open the way for discovering new anti-desiccation strategies.