MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions
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A Distinct Role of Pectate Lyases in the Formation of Feeding Structures Induced by Cyst and Root-Knot Nematodes

A Distinct Role of Pectate Lyases in the Formation of Feeding Structures Induced by Cyst and Root-Knot Nematodes | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it

Pectin in the primary plant cell wall is thought to be responsible for its porosity, charge density, and microfibril spacing and is the main component of the middle lamella. Plant-parasitic nematodes secrete cell wall–degrading enzymes that macerate the plant tissue, facilitating the penetration and migration within the roots. In sedentary endoparasitic nematodes, these enzymes are released only during the migration of infective juveniles through the root. Later, nematodes manipulate the expression of host plant genes, including various cell wall enzymes, in order to induce specific feeding sites. In this study, we investigated expression of two Arabidopsis pectate lyase-like genes (PLL), PLL18(At3g27400) and PLL19 (At4g24780), together with pectic epitopes with different degrees of methylesterification in both syncytia induced by the cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii and giant cells induced by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. We confirmed upregulation ofPLL18 and PLL19 in both types of feeding sites with quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ RT-PCR. Furthermore, the functional analysis of mutants demonstrated the important role of both PLL genes in the development and maintenance of syncytia but not giant cells. Our results show that both enzymes play distinct roles in different infected root tissues as well as during parasitism of different nematodes.

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SAR202 Genomes from the Dark Ocean Predict Pathways for the Oxidation of Recalcitrant Dissolved Organic Matter

SAR202 Genomes from the Dark Ocean Predict Pathways for the Oxidation of Recalcitrant Dissolved Organic Matter | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Deep-ocean regions beyond the reach of sunlight contain an estimated 615 Pg of dissolved organic matter (DOM), much of which persists for thousands of years. It is thought that bacteria oxidize DOM until it is too dilute or refractory to support microbial activity. We analyzed five single-amplified genomes (SAGs) from the abundant SAR202 clade of dark-ocean bacterioplankton and found they encode multiple families of paralogous enzymes involved in carbon catabolism, including several families of oxidative enzymes that we hypothesize participate in the degradation of cyclic alkanes. The five partial genomes encoded 152 flavin mononucleotide/F420-dependent monooxygenases (FMNOs), many of which are predicted to be type II Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs) that catalyze oxygen insertion into semilabile alicyclic alkanes. The large number of oxidative enzymes, as well as other families of enzymes that appear to play complementary roles in catabolic pathways, suggests that SAR202 might catalyze final steps in the biological oxidation of relatively recalcitrant organic compounds to refractory compounds that persist.
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Managing and manipulating the rhizosphere microbiome for plant health: A systems approach

Managing and manipulating the rhizosphere microbiome for plant health: A systems approach | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Plants co-evolved with microbes, and plant genotypes that supported microbiomes that increased their own health likely had a fitness advantage under natural selection. Plant domestication and crop breeding under fertilization have largely decoupled the rhizosphere microbiome from plant selection. If important interactions have been lost as a result, there is an exciting opportunity to re-engineer characteristics of beneficial rhizosphere microbiomes back into agricultural cropping systems. New tools will allow us to engineer the rhizosphere with increasing sophistication in the future, but must recognize that the rhizosphere is a highly connected and interactive system.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes

Building a better foundation: improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Trait-based approaches provide a useful framework to investigate plant strategies for resource acquisition, growth, and competition, as well as plant impacts on ecosystem processes. Despite significant progress capturing trait variation within and among stems and leaves, identification of trait syndromes within fine-root systems and between fine roots and other plant organs is limited. Here we discuss three underappreciated areas where focused measurements of fine-root traits can make significant contributions to ecosystem science. These include assessment of spatiotemporal variation in fine-root traits, integration of mycorrhizal fungi into fine-root-trait frameworks, and the need for improved scaling of traits measured on individual roots to ecosystem-level processes. Progress in each of these areas is providing opportunities to revisit how below-ground processes are represented in terrestrial biosphere models. Targeted measurements of fine-root traits with clear linkages to ecosystem processes and plant responses to environmental change are strongly needed to reduce empirical and model uncertainties. Further identifying how and when suites of root and whole-plant traits are coordinated or decoupled will ultimately provide a powerful tool for modeling plant form and function at local and global scales.
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Tuber indicum shapes the microbial communities of ectomycorhizosphere soil and ectomycorrhizae of an indigenous tree (Pinus armandii)

Tuber indicum shapes the microbial communities of ectomycorhizosphere soil and ectomycorrhizae of an indigenous tree (Pinus armandii) | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of an ectomycorrhizal fungus (Tuber indicum) on the diversity of microbial communities associated with an indigenous tree, Pinus armandii, and the microbial communities in the surrounding ectomycorhizosphere soil. High-throughput sequencing was used to analyze the richness of microbial communities in the roots or rhizosphere of treatments with or without ectomycorrhizae. The results indicated that the bacterial diversity of ectomycorhizosphere soil was significantly lower compared with the control soil. Presumably, the dominance of truffle mycelia in ectomycorhizosphere soil (80.91%) and ectomycorrhizae (97.64%) was the main factor that resulted in lower diversity and abundance of endophytic pathogenic fungi, including Fusarium, Monographella, Ustilago and Rhizopus and other competitive mycorrhizal fungi, such as Amanita, Lactarius and Boletus. Bacterial genera Reyranena, Rhizomicrobium, Nordella, Pseudomonas and fungal genera, Cuphophyllus, Leucangium, Histoplasma were significantly more abundant in ectomycorrhizosphere soil and ectomycorrhizae. Hierarchical cluster analysis of the similarities between rhizosphere and ectomycorrhizosphere soil based on the soil properties differed significantly, indicating the mycorrhizal synthesis may have a feedback effect on soil properties. Meanwhile, some soil properties were significantly correlated with bacterial and fungal diversity in the rhizosphere or root tips. Overall, this work illustrates the interactive network that exists among ectomycorrhizal fungi, soil properties and microbial communities associated with the host plant and furthers our understanding of the ecology and cultivation of T. indicum.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Jasmonates: biosynthesis, metabolism, and signaling by proteins activating and repressing transcription | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic

Jasmonates: biosynthesis, metabolism, and signaling by proteins activating and repressing transcription | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
The lipid-derived phytohormone jasmonate (JA) regulates plant growth, development, secondary metabolism, defense against insect attack and pathogen infection, and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as wounding, UV light, salt, and drought. JA was first identified in 1962, and since the 1980s many studies have analyzed the physiological functions, biosynthesis, distribution, metabolism, perception, signaling, and crosstalk of JA, greatly expanding our knowledge of the hormone’s action. In response to fluctuating environmental cues and transient endogenous signals, the occurrence of multilayered organization of biosynthesis and inactivation of JA, and activation and repression of the COI1–JAZ-based perception and signaling contributes to the fine-tuning of JA responses. This review describes the JA biosynthetic enzymes in terms of gene families, enzymatic activity, location and regulation, substrate specificity and products, the metabolic pathways in converting JA to activate or inactivate compounds, JA signaling in perception, and the co-existence of signaling activators and repressors.

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Jasmonate signaling and manipulation by pathogens and insects | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic

Jasmonate signaling and manipulation by pathogens and insects | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Plants synthesize jasmonates (JAs) in response to developmental cues or environmental stresses, in order to coordinate plant growth, development or defense against pathogens and herbivores. Perception of pathogen or herbivore attack promotes synthesis of jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine (JA-Ile), which binds to the COI1-JAZ receptor, triggering the degradation of JAZ repressors and induction of transcriptional reprogramming associated with plant defense. Interestingly, some virulent pathogens have evolved various strategies to manipulate JA signaling to facilitate their exploitation of plant hosts. In this review, we focus on recent advances in understanding the mechanism underlying the enigmatic switch between transcriptional repression and hormone-dependent transcriptional activation of JA signaling. We also discuss various strategies used by pathogens and insects to manipulate JA signaling and how interfering with this could be used as a novel means of disease control.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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The Verticillium-specific protein VdSCP7 localizes to the plant nucleus and modulates immunity to fungal infections

The Verticillium-specific protein VdSCP7 localizes to the plant nucleus and modulates immunity to fungal infections | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Fungal pathogens secrete effector proteins to suppress plant basal defense for successful colonization. Resistant plants, however, can recognize effectors by cognate R proteins to induce effector-triggered immunity (ETI). By analyzing secretomes of the vascular fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae, we identified a novel secreted protein VdSCP7 that targets the plant nucleus. The green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged VdSCP7 gene with either a mutated nuclear localization signal motif or with additional nuclear export signal was transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana, and investigated for induction of plant immunity. The role of VdSCP7 in V. dahliae pathogenicity was characterized by gene knockout and complementation, and GFP labeling. Expression of the VdSCP7 gene in N. benthamiana activated both salicylic acid and jasmonate signaling, and altered the plant's susceptibility to the pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Phytophthora capsici. The immune response activated by VdSCP7 was highly dependent on its initial extracellular secretion and subsequent nuclear localization in plants. Knockout of the VdSCP7 gene significantly enhanced V. dahliae aggressiveness on cotton. GFP-labeled VdSCP7 is secreted by V. dahliae and accumulates in the plant nucleus. We conclude that VdSCP7 is a novel effector protein that targets the host nucleus to modulate plant immunity, and suggest that plants can recognize VdSCP7 to activate ETI during fungal infection.
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Divergent and convergent modes of interaction between wheat and Puccinia graminis f. sp . tritici isolates revealed by the comparative gene co-expression network and genome analyses

Divergent and convergent modes of interaction between wheat and Puccinia graminis f. sp . tritici isolates revealed by the comparative gene co-expression network and genome analyses | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Background

Two opposing evolutionary constraints exert pressure on plant pathogens: one to diversify virulence factors in order to evade plant defenses, and the other to retain virulence factors critical for maintaining a compatible interaction with the plant host. To better understand how the diversified arsenals of fungal genes promote interaction with the same compatible wheat line, we performed a comparative genomic analysis of two North American isolates of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt).
Results

The patterns of inter-isolate divergence in the secreted candidate effector genes were compared with the levels of conservation and divergence of plant-pathogen gene co-expression networks (GCN) developed for each isolate. Comprative genomic analyses revealed substantial level of interisolate divergence in effector gene complement and sequence divergence. Gene Ontology (GO) analyses of the conserved and unique parts of the isolate-specific GCNs identified a number of conserved host pathways targeted by both isolates. Interestingly, the degree of inter-isolate sub-network conservation varied widely for the different host pathways and was positively associated with the proportion of conserved effector candidates associated with each sub-network. While different Pgt isolates tended to exploit similar wheat pathways for infection, the mode of plant-pathogen interaction varied for different pathways with some pathways being associated with the conserved set of effectors and others being linked with the diverged or isolate-specific effectors.
Conclusions

Our data suggest that at the intra-species level pathogen populations likely maintain divergent sets of effectors capable of targeting the same plant host pathways. This functional redundancy may play an important role in the dynamic of the “arms-race” between host and pathogen serving as the basis for diverse virulence strategies and creating conditions where mutations in certain effector groups will not have a major effect on the pathogen’s ability to infect the host.
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Resolution of deep eudicot phylogeny and their temporal diversification using nuclear genes from transcriptomic and genomic datasets

Resolution of deep eudicot phylogeny and their temporal diversification using nuclear genes from transcriptomic and genomic datasets | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Explosive diversification is widespread in eukaryotes, making it difficult to resolve phylogenetic relationships. Eudicots contain c. 75% of extant flowering plants, are important for human livelihood and terrestrial ecosystems, and have probably experienced explosive diversifications. The eudicot phylogenetic relationships, especially among those of the Pentapetalae, remain unresolved. Here, we present a highly supported eudicot phylogeny and diversification rate shifts using 31 newly generated transcriptomes and 88 other datasets covering 70% of eudicot orders. A highly supported eudicot phylogeny divided Pentapetalae into two groups: one with rosids, Saxifragales, Vitales and Santalales; the other containing asterids, Caryophyllales and Dilleniaceae, with uncertainty for Berberidopsidales. Molecular clock analysis estimated that crown eudicots originated c. 146 Ma, considerably earlier than earliest tricolpate pollen fossils and most other molecular clock estimates, and Pentapetalae sequentially diverged into eight major lineages within c. 15 Myr. Two identified increases of diversification rate are located in the stems leading to Pentapetalae and asterids, and lagged behind the gamma hexaploidization. The nuclear genes from newly generated transcriptomes revealed a well-resolved eudicot phylogeny, sequential separation of major core eudicot lineages and temporal mode of diversifications, providing new insights into the evolutionary trend of morphologies and contributions to the diversification of eudicots.
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Introduction: microbial local adaptation: insights from natural populations, genomics and experimental evolution

Introduction: microbial local adaptation: insights from natural populations, genomics and experimental evolution | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Local adaptation emerges when a population has differentially evolved compared to other populations within a given species in response to particular selective pressures imposed by biotic or abiotic components of its local environment, resulting in a higher fitness of this focal population in its environment compared to other members of the same species and/or compared to other environments (Williams 1966; Kaltz & Shykoff 1998). Local adaptation is an ideal situation for studying the mechanisms of evolution and adaptation, as one can compare different populations belonging to the same species with negligible differentiation beyond the traits or genes involved in adaptation.

Patterns and mechanisms of local adaptation are still less studied in ‘microbes’, that is, micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, than in plants and animals, mostly because they are less conspicuous or charismatic, and were long thought to display little differentiation among populations because of their high dispersal abilities (Taylor et al. 2006). Yet, they are good models for studying patterns and processes of adaptation. They are indeed tractable for experiments, in particular for experimental evolution experiments thanks to short generation times, and for genetic and genomic studies, thanks to an often easy access to the haploid phase and their small genomes (Gladieux et al. 2014; Croll & McDonald 2017). Their lifestyle often involving symbiosis, either mutualistic or pathogenic, is also an interesting feature for the study of adaptation, as this can lead to co-evolution and/or host specialization. Furthermore, microbes can be parasitized, such as in the case of phages parasitizing bacteria or viruses parasitizing fungi. Abiotic selective pressures, such as temperature or pesticides, can also lead to local adaptation in bacteria and fungi (Branco et al. 2017; Mboup et al. 2012; Delmas et al. 2017; Walker et al. 2017). We can also expect interactions between biotic and abiotic factors, with for instance host local adaptation of a microbe mediated by temperature or the presence of its parasite (Laine 2008; Meaden & Koskella 2017). Furthermore, adaptation in microbes is essential to study because these organisms have great impact on ecosystem functioning as well as on human health and food security. Many microbes are human pathogens or infect crops or livestock (Fisher et al. 2012; Gladieux et al. 2015). Many other microbes have been domesticated for food maturation (Gladieux et al. 2014; Dequin et al. 2017). Adaptation in microbial pathogens can involve evolution of fungicide resistance or adaptation to host resistance, which has considerable impact on disease epidemics (Croll & McDonald 2017).

This Molecular Ecology Special Issue on ‘Microbial Local Adaptation’ highlights different approaches that can be used to study patterns and mechanisms of adaptation in microbes, and this special issue compiles studies reporting evidence of local adaptation in natural populations, studies using experimental evolution for elucidating how selection can produce adaptation or what constraints exist that prevent optimal adaptation, and studies detecting footprints of adaptation in genomes and identifying the genetic basis of adaptation. Biological models in this special issue include viruses, bacteria, oomycetes and fungi, most of which are plant or animal (including human) pathogens, and some domesticated fungi (wine yeasts). Some papers in the present issue review the literature on a particular aspect of local adaptation, for instance on the genetic basis of local adaptation in crop pathogens or on insights obtained from experimental evolutionary studies of local adaptation in plant viruses or on trade-offs (Bono et al. 2017; Croll & McDonald 2017; Elena 2017).
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Convergence and contrast in the community structure of Bacteria, Fungi and Archaea along a tropical elevation-climate gradient

Convergence and contrast in the community structure of Bacteria, Fungi and Archaea along a tropical elevation-climate gradient | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Changes in species richness along climatological gradients have been instrumental in developing theories about the general drivers of biodiversity. Previous studies on microbial communities along climate gradients on mountainsides have revealed positive, negative and neutral richness trends. We examined changes in richness and composition of Fungi, Bacteria and Archaea in soil along a 50–1000 m elevation, 280–3280 mm/yr precipitation gradient in Hawai’i. Soil properties and their drivers are exceptionally well understood along this gradient. All three microbial groups responded strongly to the gradient, with community ordinations being similar along axes of environmental conditions (pH, rainfall) and resource availability (nitrogen, phosphorus). However, the form of the richness-climate relationship varied between Fungi (positive-linear), Bacteria (unimodal), and Archaea (negative-linear). These differences were related to resource-ecology and limiting conditions for each group, with fungal richness increasing most strongly with soil carbon, ammonia-oxidizing Archaea increasing with nitrogen mineralization rate, and Bacteria increasing with both carbon and pH. Reponses to the gradient became increasingly variable at finer taxonomic scales and within any taxonomic group individual OTUs occurred in narrow climate-elevation ranges. These results show that microbial responses to climate gradients are heterogeneous due to complexity of underlying environmental changes and the diverse ecologies of microbial taxa.
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The Abundance of Endofungal Bacterium Rhizobium radiobacter (syn. Agrobacterium tumefaciens) Increases in Its Fungal Host Piriformospora indica during the Tripartite Sebacinalean Symbio...

The Abundance of Endofungal Bacterium Rhizobium radiobacter (syn. Agrobacterium tumefaciens) Increases in Its Fungal Host Piriformospora indica during the Tripartite Sebacinalean Symbio... | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Rhizobium radiobacter (syn. Agrobacterium tumefaciens, syn. “Agrobacterium fabrum”) is an endofungal bacterium of the fungal mutualist Piriformospora (syn. Serendipita) indica (Basidiomycota), which together form a tripartite Sebacinalean symbiosis with a broad range of plants. R. radiobacter strain F4 (RrF4), isolated from P. indica DSM 11827, induces growth promotion and systemic resistance in cereal crops, including barley and wheat, suggesting that R. radiobacter contributes to a successful symbiosis. Here, we studied the impact of endobacteria on the morphology and the beneficial activity of P. indica during interactions with plants. Low numbers of endobacteria were detected in the axenically grown P. indica (long term lab-cultured, lcPiri) whereas mycelia colonizing the plant root contained increased numbers of bacteria. Higher numbers of endobacteria were also found in axenic cultures of P. indica that was freshly re-isolated (riPiri) from plant roots, though numbers dropped during repeated axenic re-cultivation. Prolonged treatments of P. indica cultures with various antibiotics could not completely eliminate the bacterium, though the number of detectable endobacteria decreased significantly, resulting in partial-cured P. indica (pcPiri). pcPiri showed reduced growth in axenic cultures and poor sporulation. Consistent with this, pcPiri also showed reduced plant growth promotion and reduced systemic resistance against powdery mildew infection as compared with riPiri and lcPiri. These results are consistent with the assumption that the endobacterium R. radiobacter improves P. indica’s fitness and thus contributes to the success of the tripartite Sebacinalean symbiosis.
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Genome assembly with in vitro proximity ligation data and whole-genome triplication in lettuce

Genome assembly with in vitro proximity ligation data and whole-genome triplication in lettuce | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a major crop and a member of the large, highly successful Compositae family of flowering plants. Here we present a reference assembly for the species and family. This was generated using whole-genome shotgun Illumina reads plus in vitro proximity ligation data to create large superscaffolds; it was validated genetically and superscaffolds were oriented in genetic bins ordered along nine chromosomal pseudomolecules. We identify several genomic features that may have contributed to the success of the family, including genes encoding Cycloidea-like transcription factors, kinases, enzymes involved in rubber biosynthesis and disease resistance proteins that are expanded in the genome. We characterize 21 novel microRNAs, one of which may trigger phasiRNAs from numerous kinase transcripts. We provide evidence for a whole-genome triplication event specific but basal to the Compositae. We detect 26% of the genome in triplicated regions containing 30% of all genes that are enriched for regulatory sequences and depleted for genes involved in defence.


Via Pierre-Marc Delaux
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Invasive Plants Rapidly Reshape Soil Properties in a Grassland Ecosystem

Invasive Plants Rapidly Reshape Soil Properties in a Grassland Ecosystem | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Plant invasions often reduce native plant diversity and increase net primary productivity. Invaded soils appear to differ from surrounding soils in ways that impede restoration of diverse native plant communities. We hypothesize that invader-mediated shifts in edaphic properties reproducibly alter soil microbial community structure and function. Here, we take a holistic approach, characterizing plant, prokaryotic, and fungal communities and soil physicochemical properties in field sites, invasion gradients, and experimental plots for three invasive plant species that cooccur in the Rocky Mountain West. Each invader had a unique impact on soil physicochemical properties. We found that invasions drove shifts in the abundances of specific microbial taxa, while overall belowground community structure and functional potential were fairly constant. Forb invaders were generally enriched in copiotrophic bacteria with higher 16S rRNA gene copy numbers and showed greater microbial carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolic potential. Older invasions had stronger effects on abiotic soil properties, indicative of multiyear successions. Overall, we show that plant invasions are idiosyncratic in their impact on soils and are directly responsible for driving reproducible shifts in the soil environment over multiyear time scales.

IMPORTANCE In this study, we show how invasive plant species drive rapid shifts in the soil environment from surrounding native communities. Each of the three plant invaders had different but consistent effects on soils. Thus, there does not appear to be a one-size-fits-all strategy for how plant invaders alter grassland soil environments. This work represents a crucial step toward understanding how invaders might be able to prevent or impair native reestablishment by changing soil biotic and abiotic properties.
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Regulation of proteinaceous effector expression in phytopathogenic fungi

Effectors are molecules used by microbial pathogens to facilitate infection via effector-triggered susceptibility or tissue necrosis in their host. Much research has been focussed on the identification and elucidating the function of fungal effectors during plant pathogenesis. By comparison, knowledge of how phytopathogenic fungi regulate the expression of effector genes has been lagging. Several recent studies have illustrated the role of various transcription factors, chromosome-based control, effector epistasis, and mobilisation of endosomes within the fungal hyphae in regulating effector expression and virulence on the host plant. Improved knowledge of effector regulation is likely to assist in improving novel crop protection strategies.
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Forest Soil Bacteria: Diversity, Involvement in Ecosystem Processes, and Response to Global Change

Forest Soil Bacteria: Diversity, Involvement in Ecosystem Processes, and Response to Global Change | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it

 The ecology of forest soils is an important field of research due to the role of forests as carbon sinks. Consequently, a significant amount of information has been accumulated concerning their ecology, especially for temperate and boreal forests. Although most studies have focused on fungi, forest soil bacteria also play important roles in this environment. In forest soils, bacteria inhabit multiple habitats with specific properties, including bulk soil, rhizosphere, litter, and deadwood habitats, where their communities are shaped by nutrient availability and biotic interactions. Bacteria contribute to a range of essential soil processes involved in the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. They take part in the decomposition of dead plant biomass and are highly important for the decomposition of dead fungal mycelia. In rhizospheres of forest trees, bacteria interact with plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi as commensalists or mycorrhiza helpers. Bacteria also mediate multiple critical steps in the nitrogen cycle, including N fixation. Bacterial communities in forest soils respond to the effects of global change, such as climate warming, increased levels of carbon dioxide, or anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. This response, however, often reflects the specificities of each studied forest ecosystem, and it is still impossible to fully incorporate bacteria into predictive models. The understanding of bacterial ecology in forest soils has advanced dramatically in recent years, but it is still incomplete. The exact extent of the contribution of bacteria to forest ecosystem processes will be recognized only in the future, when the activities of all soil community members are studied simultaneously.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Bob Reeves's curator insight, April 19, 7:28 AM
Our understanding of the highly-integrated microbial communities that constitute the Microbiome in healthy, naturalized soils is increasing daily. When nurtured and allowed to run, this engine of nutrient cycling and capture supports all forests - and can be re-engaged to help urban and agricultural ecosystems as well.
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An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop.


Via Pierre-Marc Delaux
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Role and functioning of bHLH transcription factors in jasmonate signalling | Journal of Experimental Botany |

Role and functioning of bHLH transcription factors in jasmonate signalling | Journal of Experimental Botany | | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Plant growth, development and interaction with the environment involve the action of multiple phytohormones. Transcription factors (TFs) of diverse families play essential roles in the signalling cascades triggered by the perception of a particular hormone. TFs may act alone or in a combinatorial fashion with other TFs, and may act specifically in a single hormonal signalling cascade or as signalling hubs for multiple hormones. In the signalling cascades triggered by the phytohormone jasmonate (JA), which modulates a diverse, but specific, range of aspects of plant growth, development and defence, the TFs of the basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) family play an essential and often conserved role in the plant kingdom. Here, we first discuss the bHLH TFs involved in all kinds of JA-modulated processes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Secondly, we elaborate on the identity and role of bHLH TFs in the conserved JA-mediated elicitation of specialized metabolism of medicinal and crop species. Finally, we discuss which directions future fundamental research on the functioning of bHLH TFs in JA signalling may head for and how this research can be translated from model plants into crop and medicinal plant species to engineer traits of agronomical and industrial interest.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Transcriptome analysis of the Brassica napus–Leptosphaeria maculans pathosystem identifies receptor, signaling and structural genes underlying plant resistance

Transcriptome analysis of the Brassica napus–Leptosphaeria maculans pathosystem identifies receptor, signaling and structural genes underlying plant resistance | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
The hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans is the causal agent of blackleg disease in Brassica napus (canola, oilseed rape) and causes significant loss of yield worldwide. While genetic resistance has been used to mitigate the disease by means of traditional breeding strategies, there is little knowledge about the genes that contribute to blackleg resistance. RNA sequencing and a streamlined bioinformatics pipeline identified unique genes and plant defense pathways specific to plant resistance in the B. napus–L. maculans LepR1–AvrLepR1 interaction over time. We complemented our temporal analyses by monitoring gene activity directly at the infection site using laser microdissection coupled to quantitative PCR. Finally, we characterized genes involved in plant resistance to blackleg in the Arabidopsis–L. maculans model pathosystem. Data reveal an accelerated activation of the plant transcriptome in resistant host cotyledons associated with transcripts coding for extracellular receptors and phytohormone signaling molecules. Functional characterization provides direct support for transcriptome data and positively identifies resistance regulators in the Brassicaceae. Spatial gradients of gene activity were identified in response to L. maculans proximal to the site of infection. This dataset provides unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution of the genes required for blackleg resistance and serves as a valuable resource for those interested in host–pathogen interactions.
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Contrasting evolutionary genome dynamics between domesticated and wild yeasts

Contrasting evolutionary genome dynamics between domesticated and wild yeasts | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Structural rearrangements have long been recognized as an important source of genetic variation, with implications in phenotypic diversity and disease, yet their detailed evolutionary dynamics remain elusive. Here we use long-read sequencing to generate end-to-end genome assemblies for 12 strains representing major subpopulations of the partially domesticated yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its wild relative Saccharomyces paradoxus. These population-level high-quality genomes with comprehensive annotation enable precise definition of chromosomal boundaries between cores and subtelomeres and a high-resolution view of evolutionary genome dynamics. In chromosomal cores, S. paradoxus shows faster accumulation of balanced rearrangements (inversions, reciprocal translocations and transpositions), whereas S. cerevisiae accumulates unbalanced rearrangements (novel insertions, deletions and duplications) more rapidly. In subtelomeres, both species show extensive interchromosomal reshuffling, with a higher tempo in S. cerevisiae. Such striking contrasts between wild and domesticated yeasts are likely to reflect the influence of human activities on structural genome evolution.
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Scooped by Francis Martin
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The rice LysM receptor-like kinase OsCERK1 is required for the perception of short-chain chitin oligomers in arbuscular mycorrhizal signaling

The rice lysin-motif (LysM) receptor-like kinase OsCERK1 is now known to have a dual role in both pathogenic and symbiotic interactions. Following the recent discovery that the Oscerk1 mutant is unable to host arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, we have examined whether OsCERK1 is directly involved in the perception of the short-chain chitin oligomers (Myc-COs) identified in AM fungal exudates and shown to activate nuclear calcium (Ca2+) spiking in the rice root epidermis. An Oscerk1 knockout mutant expressing the cameleon NLS-YC2.60 was used to monitor nuclear Ca2+ signaling following root treatment with either crude fungal exudates or purified Myc-COs. Compared with wild-type rice, Ca2+ spiking responses to AM fungal elicitation were absent in root atrichoblasts of the Oscerk1 mutant. By contrast, rice lines mutated in OsCEBiP, encoding the LysM receptor-like protein which associates with OsCERK1 to perceive chitin elicitors of the host immune defense pathway, responded positively to Myc-COs. These findings provide direct evidence that the bi-functional OsCERK1 plays a central role in perceiving short-chain Myc-CO signals and activating the downstream conserved symbiotic signal transduction pathway.
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Genomic Data Quality Impacts Automated Detection of Lateral Gene Transfer in Fungi

Genomic Data Quality Impacts Automated Detection of Lateral Gene Transfer in Fungi | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Lateral gene transfer (LGT, also known as horizontal gene transfer), an atypical mechanism of transferring genes between species, has almost become the default explanation for genes that display an unexpected composition or phylogeny. Numerous methods of detecting LGT events all rely on two fundamental strategies: primary structure composition or gene tree/species tree comparisons. Discouragingly, the results of these different approaches rarely coincide. With the wealth of genome data now available, detection of laterally transferred genes is increasingly being attempted in large uncurated eukaryotic datasets. However, detection methods depend greatly on the quality of the underlying genomic data, which are typically complex for eukaryotes. Furthermore, given the automated nature of genomic data collection, it is typically impractical to manually verify all protein or gene models, orthology predictions, and multiple sequence alignments, requiring researchers to accept a substantial margin of error in their datasets. Using a test case comprising plant-associated genomes across the fungal kingdom, this study reveals that composition- and phylogeny-based methods have little statistical power to detect laterally transferred genes. In particular, phylogenetic methods reveal extreme levels of topological variation in fungal gene trees, the vast majority of which show departures from the canonical species tree. Therefore, it is inherently challenging to detect LGT events in typical eukaryotic genomes. This finding is in striking contrast to the large number of claims for laterally transferred genes in eukaryotic species that routinely appear in the literature, and questions how many of these proposed examples are statistically well supported.
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Rescooped by Francis Martin from Plant roots and rhizosphere
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Atractiella rhizophila, sp. nov., an endorrhizal fungus isolated from the Populus root microbiome

Atractiella rhizophila, sp. nov., an endorrhizal fungus isolated from the Populus root microbiome | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
Among fungi isolated from healthy root mycobiomes of Populus, we discovered a new endorrhizal fungal species belonging to the rust lineage Pucciniomycotina, described here as Atractiella rhizophila. We characterized this species by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), phylogenetic analysis, and plant bioassay experiments. Phylogenetic sequence analysis of isolates and available environmental and reference sequences indicates that this new species, A. rhizophila, has a broad geographic and host range. Atractiella rhizophila appears to be present in North America, Australia, Asia, and Africa and is associated with trees, orchids, and other agriculturally important species, including soybean, corn, and rice. Despite the large geographic and host range of this species sampling, A. rhizophila appears to have exceptionally low sequence variation within nuclear rDNA markers examined. With inoculation studies, we demonstrate that A. rhizophila is nonpathogenic, asymptomatically colonizes plant roots, and appears to foster plant growth and elevated photosynthesis rates.


Via Steve Marek, Christophe Jacquet
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Glyoxal oxidases: their nature and properties

Glyoxal oxidases: their nature and properties | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it
H2O2 has been found to be required for the activity of the main microbial enzymes responsible for lignin oxidative cleavage, peroxidases. Along with other small radicals, it is implicated in the early attack of plant biomass by fungi. Among the few extracellular H2O2-generating enzymes known are the glyoxal oxidases (GLOX). GLOX is a copper-containing enzyme, sharing high similarity at the level of active site structure and chemistry with galactose oxidase. Genes encoding GLOX enzymes are widely distributed among wood-degrading fungi especially white-rot degraders, plant pathogenic and symbiotic fungi. GLOX has also been identified in plants. Although widely distributed, only few examples of characterized GLOX exist. The first characterized fungal GLOX was isolated from Phanerochaete chrysosporium. The GLOX from Utilago maydis has a role in filamentous growth and pathogenicity. More recently, two other glyoxal oxidases from the fungus Pycnoporus cinnabarinus were also characterized. In plants, GLOX from Vitis pseudoreticulata was found to be implicated in grapevine defence mechanisms. Fungal GLOX were found to be activated by peroxidases in vitro suggesting a synergistic and regulatory relationship between these enzymes. The substrates oxidized by GLOX are mainly aldehydes generated during lignin and carbohydrates degradation. The reactions catalysed by this enzyme such as the oxidation of toxic molecules and the production of valuable compounds (organic acids) makes GLOX a promising target for biotechnological applications. This aspect on GLOX remains new and needs to be investigated.
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Rescooped by Francis Martin from Norwich rust group
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LOCALIZER: subcellular localization prediction of both plant and effector proteins in the plant cell

LOCALIZER: subcellular localization prediction of both plant and effector proteins in the plant cell | MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions | Scoop.it

Pathogens secrete effector proteins and many operate inside plant cells to enable infection. Some effectors have been found to enter subcellular compartments by mimicking host targeting sequences. Although many computational methods exist to predict plant protein subcellular localization, they perform poorly for effectors. The authors have developed LOCALIZER for predicting plant and effector protein localization to chloroplasts, mitochondria, and nuclei. LOCALIZER shows greater prediction accuracy for chloroplast and mitochondrial targeting compared to other methods for 652 plant proteins. For 107 eukaryotic effectors, LOCALIZER outperforms other methods and predicts a previously unrecognized chloroplast transit peptide for the ToxA effector, which the authors show translocates into tobacco chloroplasts. Secretome-wide predictions and confocal microscopy reveal that rust fungi might have evolved multiple effectors that target chloroplasts or nuclei. LOCALIZER is the first method for predicting effector localisation in plants and is a valuable tool for prioritizing effector candidates for functional investigations. LOCALIZER is available at http://localizer.csiro.au/.


Via Norwich Rust Group
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