Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Mar 29;113(13):3567-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518501113. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

Small genome of the fungus Escovopsis weberi, a specialized disease agent of ant agriculture.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322;
2
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521;
3
Institute of Chemical Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, 1060 Vienna, Austria;
4
454 Life Sciences, Roche Company, Branford, CT 06405;
5
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858;
6
Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.
7
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; nicole.gerardo@emory.edu.

Abstract

Many microorganisms with specialized lifestyles have reduced genomes. This is best understood in beneficial bacterial symbioses, where partner fidelity facilitates loss of genes necessary for living independently. Specialized microbial pathogens may also exhibit gene loss relative to generalists. Here, we demonstrate that Escovopsis weberi, a fungal parasite of the crops of fungus-growing ants, has a reduced genome in terms of both size and gene content relative to closely related but less specialized fungi. Although primary metabolism genes have been retained, the E. weberi genome is depleted in carbohydrate active enzymes, which is consistent with reliance on a host with these functions. E. weberi has also lost genes considered necessary for sexual reproduction. Contrasting these losses, the genome encodes unique secondary metabolite biosynthesis clusters, some of which include genes that exhibit up-regulated expression during host attack. Thus, the specialized nature of the interaction between Escovopsis and ant agriculture is reflected in the parasite's genome.

KEYWORDS:

Atta cephalotes; attine; genome reduction; mycoparasitism; repeat-induced point mutation

PMID:
26976598
PMCID:
PMC4822581
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1518501113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center