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G3 (Bethesda). 2015 Nov 27;6(2):235-44. doi: 10.1534/g3.115.022806.

Comparative Phylogenomics of Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Species.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.


The Ascomycete Onygenales order embraces a diverse group of mammalian pathogens, including the yeast-forming dimorphic fungal pathogens Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides spp. and Blastomyces dermatitidis, the dermatophytes Microsporum spp. and Trichopyton spp., the spherule-forming dimorphic fungal pathogens in the genus Coccidioides, and many nonpathogens. Although genomes for all of the aforementioned pathogenic species are available, only one nonpathogen had been sequenced. Here, we enhance comparative phylogenomics in Onygenales by adding genomes for Amauroascus mutatus, Amauroascus niger, Byssoonygena ceratinophila, and Chrysosporium queenslandicum--four nonpathogenic Onygenales species, all of which are more closely related to Coccidioides spp. than any other known Onygenales species. Phylogenomic detection of gene family expansion and contraction can provide clues to fungal function but is sensitive to taxon sampling. By adding additional nonpathogens, we show that LysM domain-containing proteins, previously thought to be expanding in some Onygenales, are contracting in the Coccidioides-Uncinocarpus clade, as are the self-nonself recognition Het loci. The denser genome sampling presented here highlights nearly 800 genes unique to Coccidiodes, which have significantly fewer known protein domains and show increased expression in the endosporulating spherule, the parasitic phase unique to Coccidioides spp. These genomes provide insight to gene family expansion/contraction and patterns of individual gene gain/loss in this diverse order--both major drivers of evolutionary change. Our results suggest that gene family expansion/contraction can lead to adaptive radiations that create taxonomic orders, while individual gene gain/loss likely plays a more significant role in branch-specific phenotypic changes that lead to adaptation for species or genera.


coccidioides; fungal evolution; genomics; onygenales; phylogenetics

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