Chromosome-level genome assembly and manually-curated proteome of model necrotroph Parastagonospora nodorum Sn15 reveals a genome-wide trove of candidate effector homologs, and redundancy of virulence-related functions within an accessory chromosome
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Background: The fungus Parastagonospora nodorum causes septoria nodorum blotch (SNB) of wheat (Triticum aestivum) and is a model species for necrotrophic plant pathogens. The genome assembly of reference isolate Sn15 was first reported in 2007. P. nodorum infection is promoted by its production of proteinaceous necrotrophic effectors, three of which are characterised – ToxA, Tox1 and Tox3.
Results: A chromosome-scale genome assembly of P. nodorum Australian reference isolate Sn15, which combined long read sequencing, optical mapping and manual curation, produced 23 chromosomes with 21 chromosomes possessing both telomeres. New transcriptome data were combined with fungal-specific gene prediction techniques and manual curation to produce a high-quality predicted gene annotation dataset, which comprises 13,869 high confidence genes, and an additional 2534 lower confidence genes retained to assist pathogenicity effector discovery. Comparison to a panel of 31 internationally-sourced isolates identified multiple hotspots within the Sn15 genome for mutation or presence-absence variation, which was used to enhance subsequent effector prediction. Effector prediction resulted in 257 candidates, of which 98 higher-ranked candidates were selected for in-depth analysis and revealed a wealth of functions related to pathogenicity. Additionally, 11 out of the 98 candidates also exhibited orthology conservation patterns that suggested lateral gene transfer with other cereal-pathogenic fungal species. Analysis of the pan-genome indicated the smallest chromosome of 0.4 Mbp length to be an accessory chromosome (AC23). AC23 was notably absent from an avirulent isolate and is predominated by mutation hotspots with an increase in non-synonymous mutations relative to other chromosomes. Surprisingly, AC23 was deficient in effector candidates, but contained several predicted genes with redundant pathogenicity-related functions.
Conclusions: We present an updated series of genomic resources for P. nodorum Sn15 – an important reference isolate and model necrotroph – with a comprehensive survey of its predicted pathogenicity content.
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