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PeerJ. 2017 May 2;5:e3266. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3266. eCollection 2017.

Analysis of microsatellites from the transcriptome of downy mildew pathogens and their application for characterization of Pseudoperonospora populations.

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Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, United States.


Downy mildew pathogens affect several economically important crops worldwide but, due to their obligate nature, few genetic resources are available for genomic and population analyses. Draft genomes for emergent downy mildew pathogens such as the oomycete Pseudoperonospora cubensis, causal agent of cucurbit downy mildew, have been published and can be used to perform comparative genomic analysis and develop tools such as microsatellites to characterize pathogen population structure. We used bioinformatics to identify 2,738 microsatellites in the P. cubensis predicted transcriptome and evaluate them for transferability to the hop downy mildew pathogen, Pseudoperonospora humuli, since no draft genome is available for this species. We also compared the microsatellite repertoire of P. cubensis to that of the model organism Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, which causes downy mildew in Arabidopsis. Although trends in frequency of motif-type were similar, the percentage of SSRs identified from P. cubensis transcripts differed significantly from H. arabidopsidis. The majority of a subset of microsatellites selected for laboratory validation (92%) produced a product in P. cubensis isolates, and 83 microsatellites demonstrated transferability to P. humuli. Eleven microsatellites were found to be polymorphic and consistently amplified in P. cubensis isolates. Analysis of Pseudoperonospora isolates from diverse hosts and locations revealed higher diversity in P. cubensis compared to P. humuli isolates. These microsatellites will be useful in efforts to better understand relationships within Pseudoperonospora species and P. cubensis on a population level.


Comparative genomics; Downy mildew; Microsatellites; Population genetics; Pseudoperonospora cubensis; Simple Sequence Repeats

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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