The fungus Fusarium graminearum forms an intimate association with the host species wheat whilst infecting the floral tissues at anthesis. During the prolonged latent period of infection, extracellular communication between live pathogen and host cells must occur, implying a role for secreted fungal proteins. The wheat cells in contact with fungal hyphae subsequently die and intracellular hyphal colonisation results in the development of visible disease symptoms. Since the original genome annotation analysis was done in 2007, which predicted the secretome using TargetP, the F. graminearum gene call has changed considerably through the combined efforts of the BROAD and MIPS institutes. As a result of the modifications to the genome and the recent findings that suggested a role for secreted proteins in virulence, the F. graminearum secretome was revisited. In the current study, a refined F. graminearum secretome was predicted by combining several bioinformatic approaches. This strategy increased the probability of identifying truly secreted proteins. A secretome of 574 proteins was predicted of which 99% was supported by transcriptional evidence. The function of the annotated and unannotated secreted proteins was explored. The potential role(s) of the annotated proteins including, putative enzymes, phytotoxins and antifungals are discussed. Characterisation of the unannotated proteins included the analysis of Pfam domains and features associated with known fungal effectors, for example, small size, cysteine-rich and containing internal amino acid repeats. A comprehensive comparative genomic analysis involving 57 fungal and oomycete genomes revealed that only a small number of the predicted F. graminearum secreted proteins can be considered to be either species or sequenced strain specific.
Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL