Cross-species analysis between the maize smut fungi Ustilago maydis and Sporisorium reilianum highlights the role of transcriptional change of effector orthologs for virulence and disease

  • The constitution and regulation of effector repertoires shape host–microbe interactions. Ustilago maydis and Sporisorium reilianum are two closely related smut fungi, which both infect maize but cause distinct disease symptoms. Understanding how effector orthologs are regulated in these two pathogens can therefore provide insights into the evolution of different infection strategies. We tracked the infection progress of U. maydis and S. reilianum in maize leaves and used two distinct infection stages for cross-species RNA-sequencing analyses. We identified 207 of 335 one-to-one effector orthologs as differentially regulated during host colonization, which might reflect the distinct disease development strategies. Using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene conversion, we identified two differentially expressed effector orthologs with conserved function between two pathogens. Thus, differential expression of functionally conserved genes might contribute to species-specific adaptation and symptom development. Interestingly, another differentially expressed orthogroup (UMAG_05318/Sr10075) showed divergent protein function, providing a possible case for neofunctionalization. Collectively, we demonstrated that the diversification of effector genes in related pathogens can be caused both by alteration on the transcriptional level and through functional diversification of the encoded effector proteins.
Author:Weiliang Zuo, Jasper R. L. Depotter, Deepak Kumar Gupta, Marco Thines, Gunther Döhlemann
Parent Title (English):The new phytologist
Place of publication:Oxford [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/16
Date of first Publication:2021/07/16
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/03/24
Tag:CRISPR-Cas9 gene conversion; Sporisorium reilianum; Ustilagomaydis; cross-species RNA-sequencing; differentially regulated orthologs; fungal effectors; orthogroup
Page Number:15
First Page:719
Last Page:733
This work was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (consolidator grant conVIRgens, ID 771035), as well as funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy-EXC-2048/1-Project ID: 390686111. WZ and JD are supported by the Research Fellowship Programme for Postdoctoral Researchers of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. MT and DKG received support from the LOEWE initiative of the government of Hesse, in the framework of the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG) and the LOEWE Cluster for Integrative Fungal Research (IPF).
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 4.0