Background - Oomycetes are a group of fungus-like eukaryotes with diverse microorganisms living in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Many of them are important pathogens of plants and animals, causing severe economic losses. Based on previous study, gene expression in eukaryotic cells is regulated by epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation and histone modification. However, little is known about epigenetic mechanisms of oomycetes.
Results - In this study, we investigated the candidate genes in regulating histone acetylation in oomycetes genomes through bioinformatics approaches and identified a group of diverse histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs), along with three putative novel HATs. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that most of these oomycetes HATs and HDACs derived from distinct evolutionary ancestors. Phylogenetic based analysis revealed the complex and distinct patterns of duplications and losses of HATs and HDACs in oomycetes. Moreover, gene expression analysis unveiled the specific expression patterns of the 33 HATs and 11 HDACs of Phytophthora infestans during the stages of development, infection and stress response.
Conclusions - In this study, we reveal the structure, diversity and the phylogeny of HATs and HDACs of oomycetes. By analyzing the expression data, we provide an overview of the specific biological stages of these genes involved. Our datasets provide useful inputs to help explore the epigenetic mechanisms and the relationship between genomes and phenotypes of oomycetes.