Phytophthora Megakarya and Phytophthora Palmivora, Closely Related Causal Agents of Cacao Black Pod Rot, Underwent Increases in Genome Sizes and Gene Numbers by Different Mechanisms


Phytophthora megakarya (Pmeg) and Phytophthora palmivora (Ppal) are closely related species causing cacao black pod rot. Although Ppal is a cosmopolitan pathogen, cacao is the only known host of economic importance for Pmeg. Pmeg is more virulent on cacao than Ppal. We sequenced and compared the Pmeg and Ppal genomes and identified virulence-related putative gene models (PGeneM) that may be responsible for their differences in host specificities and virulence. Pmeg and Ppal have estimated genome sizes of 126.88 and 151.23Mb and PGeneM numbers of 42,036 and 44,327, respectively. The evolutionary histories of Pmeg and Ppal appear quite different. Postspeciation, Ppal underwent whole-genome duplication whereas Pmeg has undergone selective increases in PGeneM numbers, likely through accelerated transposable element-driven duplications. Many PGeneMs in both species failed to match transcripts and may represent pseudogenes or cryptic genetic reservoirs. Pmeg appears to have amplified specific gene families, some of which are virulence-related. Analysis of mycelium, zoospore, and in planta transcriptome expression profiles using neural network self-organizing map analysis generated 24 multivariate and nonlinear self-organizing map classes. Many members of the RxLR, necrosis-inducing phytophthora protein, and pectinase genes families were specifically induced in planta. Pmeg displays a diverse virulence-related gene complement similar in size to and potentially of greater diversity than Ppal but it remains likely that the specific functions of the genes determine each species' unique characteristics as pathogens.


Includes supplementary material


Cacao, Phytophthora pod rot of cacao, Phytophthora, Genomes

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project 1003147


Oxford Academic states that this article is "open access" without further definition., ©2017 Crown.