Comparative genome and transcriptome analyses reveal adaptations to opportunistic infections in woody plant degrading pathogens of Botryosphaeriaceae
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Botryosphaeriaceae are an important fungal family that cause woody plant diseases worldwide. Recent studies have established a correlation between environmental factors and disease expression; however, less is known about factors that trigger these diseases. The current study reports on the 43.3 Mb de novo genome of Lasiodiplodia theobromae and five other genomes of Botryosphaeriaceae pathogens. Botryosphaeriaceous genomes showed an expansion of gene families associated with cell wall degradation, nutrient uptake, secondary metabolism and membrane transport, which contribute to adaptations for wood degradation. Transcriptome analysis revealed that genes involved in carbohydrate catabolism, pectin, starch and sucrose metabolism, and pentose and glucuronate interconversion pathways were induced during infection. Furthermore, genes in carbohydrate-binding modules, lysine motif domain and the glycosyl hydrolase gene families were induced by high temperature. Among these genes, overexpression of two selected putative lignocellulase genes led to increased virulence in the transformants. These results demonstrate the importance of high temperatures in opportunistic infections. This study also presents a set of Botryosphaeriaceae-specific effectors responsible for the identification of virulence-related pathogen-associated molecular patterns and demonstrates their active participation in suppressing hypersensitive responses. Together, these findings significantly expand our understanding of the determinants of pathogenicity or virulence in Botryosphaeriaceae and provide new insights for developing management strategies against them.
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