The genome of Fusarium oxysporum (Fo) consists of a set of eleven 'core' chromosomes, shared by most strains and responsible for housekeeping, and one or several accessory chromosomes. We sequenced a strain of Fo f.sp. radicis-cucumerinum (Forc) using PacBio SMRT sequencing. All but one of the core chromosomes were assembled into single contigs, and a chromosome that shows all the hallmarks of a pathogenicity chromosome comprised two contigs. A central part of this chromosome contains all identified candidate effector genes, including homologs of SIX6, SIX9, SIX11 and SIX 13. We show that SIX6 contributes to virulence of Forc. Through horizontal chromosome transfer (HCT) to a non-pathogenic strain, we also show that the accessory chromosome containing the SIX gene homologs is indeed a pathogenicity chromosome for cucurbit infection. Conversely, complete loss of virulence was observed in Forc016 strains that lost this chromosome. We conclude that also a non-wilt-inducing Fo pathogen relies on effector proteins for successful infection and that the Forc pathogenicity chromosome contains all the information necessary for causing root rot of cucurbits. Three out of nine HCT strains investigated have undergone large-scale chromosome alterations, reflecting the remarkable plasticity of Fo genomes.
- Fungal pathogenesis