5 years ago

Investigating the diversity of effector genes in the banana pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense, reveals evidence of horizontal gene transfer

Manuel Zander, Lucy T. T. Tran-Nguyen, Jacqueline Batley, Wayne T. O'Neill, Sam Fraser-Smith, Elizabeth A. B. Aitken, Rachel A. Meldrum, Elizabeth Czislowski
It is hypothesised that the virulence of phytopathogenic fungi is mediated through the secretion of small effector proteins that interfere with the defence responses of the host plant. In Fusarium oxysporum, one family of effectors, the secreted in xylem (SIX) genes, have been identified. We sought to characterise the diversity and evolution of the SIX genes in the banana-infecting lineages of F. oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc). Whole-genome sequencing data was generated for the 23 genetic lineages of Foc, which were subsequently queried for the 14 known SIX genes (SIX1-SIX14). The sequences of the identified SIX genes were confirmed in a larger collection of Foc isolates. Genealogies were generated for each of the SIX genes identified in Foc to further investigate the evolution of the SIX genes in Foc. Within Foc, variation of the SIX gene profile, including the presence of specific SIX homologues, correlated with the pathogenic race structure of Foc. Furthermore, the topologies of the SIX gene trees were discordant with the topology of an infraspecies phylogeny inferred from EF-1α/RPB1/RPB2. A series of topological constraint models provided strong evidence for the horizontal transmission of SIX genes in Foc. The horizontal inheritance of pathogenicity genes in Foc counters previous assumptions that convergent evolution has driven the polyphyletic phylogeny of Foc. This work has significant implications for the management of Foc, including the improvement of diagnostics and breeding programs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12594

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