Lifestyle, gene gain and loss, and transcriptional remodeling cause divergence in the transcriptomes of Phytophthora infestans and Pythium ultimum during potato tuber colonization.
ABSTRACT: How pathogen genomes evolve to support distinct lifestyles is not well-understood. The oomycete Phytophthora infestans, the potato blight agent, is a largely biotrophic pathogen that feeds from living host cells, which become necrotic only late in infection. The related oomycete Pythium ultimum grows saprophytically in soil and as a necrotroph in plants, causing massive tissue destruction. To learn what distinguishes their lifestyles, we compared their gene contents and expression patterns in media and a shared host, potato tuber.Genes related to pathogenesis varied in temporal expression pattern, mRNA level, and family size between the species. A family's aggregate expression during infection was not proportional to size due to transcriptional remodeling and pseudogenization. Ph. infestans had more stage-specific genes, while Py. ultimum tended towards more constitutive expression. Ph. infestans expressed more genes encoding secreted cell wall-degrading enzymes, but other categories such as secreted proteases and ABC transporters had higher transcript levels in Py. ultimum. Species-specific genes were identified including new Pythium genes, perforins, which may disrupt plant membranes. Genome-wide ortholog analyses identified substantial diversified expression, which correlated with sequence divergence. Pseudogenization was associated with gene family expansion, especially in gene clusters.This first large-scale analysis of transcriptional divergence within oomycetes revealed major shifts in genome composition and expression, including subfunctionalization within gene families. Biotrophy and necrotrophy seem determined by species-specific genes and the varied expression of shared pathogenicity factors, which may be useful targets for crop protection.
Project description:Pythium ultimum is a ubiquitous oomycete plant pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases on a broad range of crop and ornamental species.The P. ultimum genome (42.8 Mb) encodes 15,290 genes and has extensive sequence similarity and synteny with related Phytophthora species, including the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Whole transcriptome sequencing revealed expression of 86% of genes, with detectable differential expression of suites of genes under abiotic stress and in the presence of a host. The predicted proteome includes a large repertoire of proteins involved in plant pathogen interactions, although, surprisingly, the P. ultimum genome does not encode any classical RXLR effectors and relatively few Crinkler genes in comparison to related phytopathogenic oomycetes. A lower number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were present compared to Phytophthora species, with the notable absence of cutinases, suggesting a significant difference in virulence mechanisms between P. ultimum and more host-specific oomycete species. Although we observed a high degree of orthology with Phytophthora genomes, there were novel features of the P. ultimum proteome, including an expansion of genes involved in proteolysis and genes unique to Pythium. We identified a small gene family of cadherins, proteins involved in cell adhesion, the first report of these in a genome outside the metazoans.Access to the P. ultimum genome has revealed not only core pathogenic mechanisms within the oomycetes but also lineage-specific genes associated with the alternative virulence and lifestyles found within the pythiaceous lineages compared to the Peronosporaceae.
Project description:The use of host nutrients to support pathogen growth is central to disease. We addressed the relationship between metabolism and trophic behavior by comparing metabolic gene expression during potato tuber colonization by two oomycetes, the hemibiotroph Phytophthora infestans and the necrotroph Pythium ultimum. Genes for several pathways including amino acid, nucleotide, and cofactor biosynthesis were expressed more by Ph. infestans during its biotrophic stage compared to Py. ultimum. In contrast, Py. ultimum had higher expression of genes for metabolizing compounds that are normally sequestered within plant cells but released to the pathogen upon plant cell lysis, such as starch and triacylglycerides. The transcription pattern of metabolic genes in Ph. infestans during late infection became more like that of Py. ultimum, consistent with the former's transition to necrotrophy. Interspecific variation in metabolic gene content was limited but included the presence of ?-amylase only in Py. ultimum. The pathogens were also found to employ strikingly distinct strategies for using nitrate. Measurements of mRNA, 15N labeling studies, enzyme assays, and immunoblotting indicated that the assimilation pathway in Ph. infestans was nitrate-insensitive but induced during amino acid and ammonium starvation. In contrast, the pathway was nitrate-induced but not amino acid-repressed in Py. ultimum. The lack of amino acid repression in Py. ultimum appears due to the absence of a transcription factor common to fungi and Phytophthora that acts as a nitrogen metabolite repressor. Evidence for functional diversification in nitrate reductase protein was also observed. Its temperature optimum was adapted to each organism's growth range, and its Km was much lower in Py. ultimum. In summary, we observed divergence in patterns of gene expression, gene content, and enzyme function which contribute to the fitness of each species in its niche.
Project description:Carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) are involved in the metabolism of glycoconjugates, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides and, in the case of plant pathogens, in the degradation of the host cell wall and storage compounds. We performed an in silico analysis of CAZymes predicted from the genomes of seven Pythium species (Py. aphanidermatum, Py. arrhenomanes, Py. irregulare, Py. iwayamai, Py. ultimum var. ultimum, Py. ultimum var. sporangiiferum and Py. vexans) using the "CAZymes Analysis Toolkit" and "Database for Automated Carbohydrate-active Enzyme Annotation" and compared them to previously published oomycete genomes. Growth of Pythium spp. was assessed in a minimal medium containing selected carbon sources that are usually present in plants. The in silico analyses, coupled with our in vitro growth assays, suggest that most of the predicted CAZymes are involved in the metabolism of the oomycete cell wall with starch and sucrose serving as the main carbohydrate sources for growth of these plant pathogens. The genomes of Pythium spp. also encode pectinases and cellulases that facilitate degradation of the plant cell wall and are important in hyphal penetration; however, the species examined in this study lack the requisite genes for the complete saccharification of these carbohydrates for use as a carbon source. Genes encoding for xylan, xyloglucan, (galacto)(gluco)mannan and cutin degradation were absent or infrequent in Pythium spp.. Comparative analyses of predicted CAZymes in oomycetes indicated distinct evolutionary histories. Furthermore, CAZyme gene families among Pythium spp. were not uniformly distributed in the genomes, suggesting independent gene loss events, reflective of the polyphyletic relationships among some of the species.
Project description:To help learn how phytopathogens feed from their hosts, genes for nutrient transporters from the hemibiotrophic potato and tomato pest Phytophthora infestans were annotated. This identified 453 genes from 19 families. Comparisons with a necrotrophic oomycete, Pythium ultimum var. ultimum, and a hemibiotrophic fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, revealed diversity in the size of some families although a similar fraction of genes encoded transporters. RNA-seq of infected potato tubers, tomato leaves, and several artificial media revealed that 56 and 207 transporters from P. infestans were significantly up- or down-regulated, respectively, during early infection timepoints of leaves or tubers versus media. About 17 were up-regulated >4-fold in both leaves and tubers compared to media and expressed primarily in the biotrophic stage. The transcription pattern of many genes was host-organ specific. For example, the mRNA level of a nitrate transporter (NRT) was about 100-fold higher during mid-infection in leaves, which are nitrate-rich, than in tubers and three types of artificial media, which are nitrate-poor. The NRT gene is physically linked with genes encoding nitrate reductase (NR) and nitrite reductase (NiR), which mobilize nitrate into ammonium and amino acids. All three genes were coregulated. For example, the three genes were expressed primarily at mid-stage infection timepoints in both potato and tomato leaves, but showed little expression in potato tubers. Transformants down-regulated for all three genes were generated by DNA-directed RNAi, with silencing spreading from the NR target to the flanking NRT and NiR genes. The silenced strains were nonpathogenic on leaves but colonized tubers. We propose that the nitrate assimilation genes play roles both in obtaining nitrogen for amino acid biosynthesis and protecting P. infestans from natural or fertilization-induced nitrate and nitrite toxicity.
Project description:The oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes potato late blight, and as a potato and tomato specialist pathogen, is seemingly poorly adapted to infect plants outside the Solanaceae. Here, we report the unexpected finding that P. infestans can infect Arabidopsis thaliana when another oomycete pathogen, Albugo laibachii, has colonized the host plant. The behaviour and speed of P. infestans infection in Arabidopsis pre-infected with A. laibachii resemble P. infestans infection of susceptible potato plants. Transcriptional profiling of P. infestans genes during infection revealed a significant overlap in the sets of secreted-protein genes that are induced in P. infestans upon colonization of potato and susceptible Arabidopsis, suggesting major similarities in P. infestans gene expression dynamics on the two plant species. Furthermore, we found haustoria of A. laibachii and P. infestans within the same Arabidopsis cells. This Arabidopsis-A. laibachii-P. infestans tripartite interaction opens up various possibilities to dissect the molecular mechanisms of P. infestans infection and the processes occurring in co-infected Arabidopsis cells.
Project description:The kingdom Stramenopile includes diatoms, brown algae, and oomycetes. Plant pathogenic oomycetes, including Phytophthora, Pythium and downy mildew species, cause devastating diseases on a wide range of host species and have a significant impact on agriculture. Here, we report comparative analyses on the genomes of thirteen straminipilous species, including eleven plant pathogenic oomycetes, to explore common features linked to their pathogenic lifestyle. We report the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of six Pythium genomes and comparison with other stramenopiles including photosynthetic diatoms, and other plant pathogenic oomycetes such as Phytophthora species, Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, and Pythium ultimum var. ultimum. Novel features of the oomycete genomes include an expansion of genes encoding secreted effectors and plant cell wall degrading enzymes in Phytophthora species and an over-representation of genes involved in proteolytic degradation and signal transduction in Pythium species. A complete lack of classical RxLR effectors was observed in the seven surveyed Pythium genomes along with an overall reduction of pathogenesis-related gene families in H. arabidopsidis. Comparative analyses revealed fewer genes encoding enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism in Pythium species and H. arabidopsidis as compared to Phytophthora species, suggesting variation in virulence mechanisms within plant pathogenic oomycete species. Shared features between the oomycetes and diatoms revealed common mechanisms of intracellular signaling and transportation. Our analyses demonstrate the value of comparative genome analyses for exploring the evolution of pathogenesis and survival mechanisms in the oomycetes. The comparative analyses of seven Pythium species with the closely related oomycetes, Phytophthora species and H. arabidopsidis, and distantly related diatoms provide insight into genes that underlie virulence.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The core promoter is the region flanking the transcription start site (TSS) that directs formation of the pre-initiation complex. Core promoters have been studied intensively in mammals and yeast, but not in more diverse eukaryotes. Here we investigate core promoters in oomycetes, a group within the Stramenopile kingdom that includes important plant and animal pathogens. Prior studies of a small collection of genes proposed that oomycete core promoters contain a 16 to 19 nt motif bearing an Initiator-like sequence (INR) flanked by a novel sequence named FPR, but this has not been extended to whole-genome analysis. RESULTS: We used expectation maximization to find over-represented motifs near TSSs of Phytophthora infestans, the potato blight pathogen. The motifs corresponded to INR, FPR, and a new element found about 25 nt downstream of the TSS called DPEP. TATA boxes were not detected. Assays of DPEP function by mutagenesis were consistent with its role as a core motif. Genome-wide searches found a well-conserved combined INR+FPR in only about 13% of genes after correcting for false discovery, which contradicted prior reports that INR and FPR are found together in most genes. INR or FPR were found alone near TSSs in 18% and 7% of genes, respectively. Promoters lacking the motifs had pyrimidine-rich regions near the TSS. The combined INR+FPR motif was linked to higher than average mRNA levels, developmentally-regulated transcription, and functions related to plant infection, while DPEP and FPR were over-represented in constitutively-expressed genes. The INR, FPR, and combined INR+FPR motifs were detected in other oomycetes including Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, Phytophthora sojae, Pythium ultimum, and Saprolegnia parasitica, while DPEP was found in all but S. parasitica. Only INR seemed present in a non-oomycete stramenopile. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of a TATA box and presence of novel motifs show that the oomycete core promoter is diverged from that of model systems, and likely explains the lack of activity of non-oomycete promoters in Phytophthora transformants. The association of the INR+FPR motif with developmentally-regulated genes shows that oomycete core elements influence stage-specific transcription in addition to regulating formation of the pre-initiation complex.
Project description:Pythium insidiosum is a human-pathogenic oomycete. Many patients infected with it lose organs or die. Toward the goal of developing improved treatment options, we want to understand how Py. insidiosum has evolved to become a successful human pathogen. Our approach here involved the use of comparative genomic and other analyses to identify genes with possible functions in the pathogenicity of Py. insidiosum. We generated an Oomycete Gene Table and used it to explore the genome contents and phylogenomic relationships of Py. insidiosum and 19 other oomycetes. Initial sequence analyses showed that Py. insidiosum is closely related to Pythium species that are not pathogenic to humans. Our analyses also indicated that the organism harbours secreted and adhesin-like proteins, which are absent from related species. Putative virulence proteins were identified by comparison to a set of known virulence genes. Among them is the urease Ure1, which is absent from humans and thus a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target. We used mass spectrometric data to successfully validate the expression of 30% of 14,962 predicted proteins and identify 15 body temperature (37?°C)-dependent proteins of Py. insidiosum. This work begins to unravel the determinants of pathogenicity of Py. insidiosum.
Project description:Interactions between plant-associated microorganisms play important roles in suppressing plant diseases and enhancing plant growth and development. While competition between plant-associated bacteria and plant pathogens has long been thought to be an important means of suppressing plant diseases microbiologically, unequivocal evidence supporting such a mechanism has been lacking. We present evidence here that competition for plant-derived unsaturated long-chain fatty acids between the biological control bacterium Enterobacter cloacae and the seed-rotting oomycete, Pythium ultimum, results in disease suppression. Since fatty acids from seeds and roots are required to elicit germination responses of P. ultimum, we generated mutants of E. cloacae to evaluate the role of E. cloacae fatty acid metabolism on the suppression of Pythium sporangium germination and subsequent plant infection. Two mutants of E. cloacae EcCT-501R3, Ec31 (fadB) and EcL1 (fadL), were reduced in beta-oxidation and fatty acid uptake, respectively. Both strains failed to metabolize linoleic acid, to inactivate the germination-stimulating activity of cottonseed exudate and linoleic acid, and to suppress Pythium seed rot in cotton seedling bioassays. Subclones containing fadBA or fadL complemented each of these phenotypes in Ec31 and EcL1, respectively. These data provide strong evidence for a competitive exclusion mechanism for the biological control of P. ultimum-incited seed infections by E. cloacae where E. cloacae prevents the germination of P. ultimum sporangia by the efficient metabolism of fatty acid components of seed exudate and thus prevents seed infections.
Project description:Pythium oligandrum is a soil born free living oomycete able to parasitize fungi and oomycetes prey, including important plant and animals pathogens. Pythium oligandrum can colonize endophytically the root tissues of diverse plants where it induces plant defenses. Here we report the first long-read genome sequencing of a P. oligandrum strain sequenced by PacBio technology. Sequencing of genomic DNA loaded onto six SMRT cells permitted the acquisition of 913,728 total reads resulting in 112X genome coverage. The assembly and polishing of the genome sequence yielded180 contigs (N50 = 1.3 Mb; L50 = 12). The size of the genome assembly is 41.9 Mb with a longest contig of 2.7 Mb and 15,007 predicted protein-coding genes among which 95.25% were supported by RNAseq data, thus constituting a new Pythium genome reference. This data will facilitate genomic comparisons of Pythium species that are commensal, beneficial or pathogenic on plant, or parasitic on fungi and oomycete to identify key genetic determinants underpinning their diverse lifestyles. In addition comparison with plant pathogenic or zoopathogenic species will illuminate genomic adaptations for pathogenesis toward widely diverse hosts.