Comparative Genomics of the Sigatoka Disease Complex on Banana Suggests a Link between Parallel Evolutionary Changes in Pseudocercospora fijiensis and Pseudocercospora eumusae and Increased Virulence on the Banana Host

Ti-Cheng Chang, Anthony Salvucci, Pedro W. Crous, Ioannis Stergiopoulos

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Understanding the evolutionary and genomic changes involved in the emergence of new pathogens and shifts in virulence spectra is vital for deciphering the biological process of disease emergence and for designing new and effective disease control methods. In this study, we employed comparative genomics in order to examine the nature, diversity, and extent of genomic modifications associated with changes in virulence among Pseudocercospora musae, Pseudocercospora eumusae, and Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the main constituents of the Sigatoka disease complex on banana, currently one of the most destructive diseases on banana worldwide. Our comparative genome analyses have highlighted the role of pathoadaptive changes in virulence associated genes, such as those encoding for effectors, in shaping the underlying differences in virulence spectra among the three species, and also revealed that changes in the size of gene families associated with nutrient acquisition and assimilation are more respectful of the species virulence profiles rather than their evolutionary relationships. Thus, we posit that next to species-specific evolutionary adaptations in virulence-associated genes, the increase in virulence of P. eumusae and P. fijiensis has been driven by convergent evolution in metabolic pathways that likely facilitate a higher efficiency of nutrient acquisition, uptake, and utilization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e1005904
    JournalPLoS Genetics
    Volume12
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2016

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