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Genome Biol Evol. 2014 Nov 13;6(12):3137-58. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evu251.

Diversity and variability of NOD-like receptors in fungi.

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INRIA-Université Bordeaux-CNRS, MAGNOME, Talence, France.
Institut de Biochimie et de Génétique Cellulaire, UMR 5095, CNRS-Université de Bordeaux, France.
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Centre for Infectious Disease Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Institut de Biochimie et de Génétique Cellulaire, UMR 5095, CNRS-Université de Bordeaux, France


Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs) are intracellular receptors that control innate immunity and other biotic interactions in animals and plants. NLRs have been characterized in plant and animal lineages, but in fungi, this gene family has not been systematically described. There is however previous indications of the involvement of NLR-like genes in nonself recognition and programmed cell death in fungi. We have analyzed 198 fungal genomes for the presence of NLRs and have annotated a total of 5,616 NLR candidates. We describe their phylogenetic distribution, domain organization, and evolution. Fungal NLRs are characterized by a great diversity of domain organizations, suggesting frequently occurring combinatorial assortments of different effector, NOD and repeat domains. The repeat domains are of the WD, ANK, and TPR type; no LRR motifs were found. As previously documented for WD-repeat domains of fungal NLRs, TPR, and ANK repeats evolve under positive selection and show highly conserved repeats and repeat length polymorphism, suggesting the possibility of concerted evolution of these repeats. We identify novel effector domains not previously found associated with NLRs, whereas others are related to effector domains of plant or animals NLRs. In particular, we show that the HET domain found in fungal NLRs may be related to Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domains found in animal and plant immune receptors. This description of fungal NLR repertoires reveals both similarities and differences with plant and animals NLR collections, highlights the importance of domain reassortment and repeat evolution and provides a novel entry point to explore the evolution of NLRs in eukaryotes.


NACHT; NLR; fungi; immunity

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