Witches' broom disease (WBD) is caused by the hemibiotrophic basidiomycete fungus Crinipellis perniciosa, which is one of the most important diseases of cocoa in the western hemisphere. In this study, the contents of soluble sugars, amino acids, alkaloids, ethylene, phenolics, tannins, flavonoids, pigments, malondialdehyde (MDA), glycerol, and fatty acids were analysed in cocoa (Theobroma cacao) shoots during the infection and development of WBD. Alterations were observed in the content of soluble sugars (sucrose, glucose, and fructose), asparagine and alkaloids (caffeine and theobromine), ethylene, and tannins. Ethylene and tannins increased prior to symptom development and declined with the death of the infected tissues. Furthermore, MDA and glycerol concentrations were higher in infected tissue than in the controls, while fatty acid composition changed in the infected tissues. Chlorophylls a and b were lower throughout the development of the disease while carotenoids and xanthophylls dropped in the infected tissue by the time of symptom development. These results show co-ordinated biochemical alterations in the infected tissues, indicating major stress responses with the production of ethylene. Ethylene levels are hypothesized to play a key role in broom development. Some of the other biochemical alterations are directly associated with ethylene synthesis and may be important for the modification of its effect on the infected tissues.
BackgroundThe basidiomycete fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa is the causal agent of Witches' Broom Disease (WBD) in cacao (Theobroma cacao). It is a hemibiotrophic pathogen that colonizes the apoplast of cacao's meristematic tissues as a biotrophic pathogen, switching to a saprotrophic lifestyle during later stages of infection. M. perniciosa, together with the related species M. roreri, are pathogens of aerial parts of the plant, an uncommon characteristic in the order Agaricales. A genome survey (1.9× coverage) of M. perniciosa was analyzed to evaluate the overall gene content of this phytopathogen.ResultsGenes encoding proteins involved in retrotransposition, reactive oxygen species (ROS) resistance, drug efflux transport and cell wall degradation were identified. The great number of genes encoding cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (1.15% of gene models) indicates that M. perniciosa has a great potential for detoxification, production of toxins and hormones; which may confer a high adaptive ability to the fungus. We have also discovered new genes encoding putative secreted polypeptides rich in cysteine, as well as genes related to methylotrophy and plant hormone biosynthesis (gibberellin and auxin). Analysis of gene families indicated that M. perniciosa have similar amounts of carboxylesterases and repertoires of plant cell wall degrading enzymes as other hemibiotrophic fungi. In addition, an approach for normalization of gene family data using incomplete genome data was developed and applied in M. perniciosa genome survey.ConclusionThis genome survey gives an overview of the M. perniciosa genome, and reveals that a significant portion is involved in stress adaptation and plant necrosis, two necessary characteristics for a hemibiotrophic fungus to fulfill its infection cycle. Our analysis provides new evidence revealing potential adaptive traits that may play major roles in the mechanisms of pathogenicity in the M. perniciosa/cacao pathosystem.
BackgroundThe basidiomycete Moniliophthora roreri is the causal agent of Frosty pod rot (FPR) disease of cacao (Theobroma cacao), the source of chocolate, and FPR is one of the most destructive diseases of this important perennial crop in the Americas. This hemibiotroph infects only cacao pods and has an extended biotrophic phase lasting up to sixty days, culminating in plant necrosis and sporulation of the fungus without the formation of a basidiocarp.ResultsWe sequenced and assembled 52.3 Mb into 3,298 contigs that represent the M. roreri genome. Of the 17,920 predicted open reading frames (OFRs), 13,760 were validated by RNA-Seq. Using read count data from RNA sequencing of cacao pods at 30 and 60 days post infection, differential gene expression was estimated for the biotrophic and necrotrophic phases of this plant-pathogen interaction. The sequencing data were used to develop a genome based secretome for the infected pods. Of the 1,535 genes encoding putative secreted proteins, 1,355 were expressed in the biotrophic and necrotrophic phases. Analysis of the data revealed secretome gene expression that correlated with infection and intercellular growth in the biotrophic phase and invasive growth and plant cellular death in the necrotrophic phase.ConclusionsGenome sequencing and RNA-Seq was used to determine and validate the Moniliophthora roreri genome and secretome. High sequence identity between Moniliophthora roreri genes and Moniliophthora perniciosa genes supports the taxonomic relationship with Moniliophthora perniciosa and the relatedness of this fungus to other basidiomycetes. Analysis of RNA-Seq data from infected plant tissues revealed differentially expressed genes in the biotrophic and necrotrophic phases. The secreted protein genes that were upregulated in the biotrophic phase are primarily associated with breakdown of the intercellular matrix and modification of the fungal mycelia, possibly to mask the fungus from plant defenses. Based on the transcriptome data, the upregulated secreted proteins in the necrotrophic phase are hypothesized to be actively attacking the plant cell walls and plant cellular components resulting in necrosis. These genes are being used to develop a new understanding of how this disease interaction progresses and to identify potential targets to reduce the impact of this devastating disease.
The capacity of two maize opaque endosperm mutants (o1 and o2) and two floury (fl1 and fl2) to accumulate lysine in the seed in relation to their wild type counterparts Oh43+ was examined. The highest total lysine content was 3.78% in the o2 mutant and the lowest 1.87% in fl1, as compared with the wild type (1.49%). For soluble lysine, o2 exhibited over a 700% increase, whilst for fl3 a 28% decrease was encountered, as compared with the wild type. In order to understand the mechanisms causing these large variations in both total and soluble lysine content, a quantitative and qualitative study of the N constituents of the endosperm has been carried out and data obtained for the total protein, nonprotein N, soluble amino acids, albumins/globulins, zeins and glutelins present in the seed of the mutants. Following two-dimensional PAGE separation, a total of 35 different forms of zein polypeptides were detected and considerable differences were noted between the five different lines. In addition, two enzymes of the aspartate biosynthetic pathway, aspartate kinase and homoserine dehydrogenase were analyzed with respect to feedback inhibition by lysine and threonine. The activities of the enzymes lysine 2-oxoglutate reductase and saccharopine dehydrogenase, both involved in lysine degradation in the maize endosperm were also determined and shown to be reduced several fold with the introduction of the o2, fl1 and fl2 mutations in the Oh43+ inbred line, whereas wild-type activity levels were verified in the Oh43o1 mutant.
Phytophthora megakarya (Pmeg) and Phytophthora palmivora (Ppal) are closely related species causing cacao black pod rot. Although Ppal is a cosmopolitan pathogen, cacao is the only known host of economic importance for Pmeg. Pmeg is more virulent on cacao than Ppal. We sequenced and compared the Pmeg and Ppal genomes and identified virulence-related putative gene models (PGeneM) that may be responsible for their differences in host specificities and virulence. Pmeg and Ppal have estimated genome sizes of 126.88 and 151.23 Mb and PGeneM numbers of 42,036 and 44,327, respectively. The evolutionary histories of Pmeg and Ppal appear quite different. Postspeciation, Ppal underwent whole-genome duplication whereas Pmeg has undergone selective increases in PGeneM numbers, likely through accelerated transposable element-driven duplications. Many PGeneMs in both species failed to match transcripts and may represent pseudogenes or cryptic genetic reservoirs. Pmeg appears to have amplified specific gene families, some of which are virulence-related. Analysis of mycelium, zoospore, and in planta transcriptome expression profiles using neural network self-organizing map analysis generated 24 multivariate and nonlinear self-organizing map classes. Many members of the RxLR, necrosis-inducing phytophthora protein, and pectinase genes families were specifically induced in planta. Pmeg displays a diverse virulence-related gene complement similar in size to and potentially of greater diversity than Ppal but it remains likely that the specific functions of the genes determine each species’ unique characteristics as pathogens.
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