Sheng Zhu, You-Zhi Cao, Cong Jiang, Bi-Yue Tan, Zhong Wang, Sisi Feng, Liang Zhang, Xiao-Hua Su, Brona Brejova, Tomas Vinar, Meng Xu, Ming-Xiu Wang, Shou-Gong Zhang, Min-Ren Huang, Rongling Wu, Yan Zhou.
Sequencing the genome of Marssonina brunnea reveals fungus-poplar co-evolution.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The fungus Marssonina brunnea is a causal pathogen of Marssonina leaf spot that devastates poplar plantations by defoliating susceptible trees before normal fall leaf drop. RESULTS: We sequence the genome of M. brunnea with a size of 52 Mb assembled into 89 scaffolds, representing the first sequenced Dermateaceae genome. By inoculating this fungus onto a poplar hybrid clone, we investigate how M. brunnea interacts and co-evolves with its host to colonize poplar leaves. While a handful of virulence genes in M. brunnea, mostly from the LysM family, are detected to up-regulate during infection, the poplar down-regulates its resistance genes, such as nucleotide binding site domains and leucine rich repeats, in response to infection. From 10,027 predicted proteins of M. brunnea in a comparison with those from poplar, we identify four poplar transferases that stimulate the host to resist M. brunnea. These transferas-encoding genes may have driven the co-evolution of M. brunnea and Populus during the process of infection and anti-infection. CONCLUSIONS: Our results from the draft sequence of the M. brunnea genome provide evidence for genome-genome interactions that play an important role in poplar-pathogen co-evolution. This knowledge could help to design effective strategies for controlling Marssonina leaf spot in poplar.