Wheat domestication accelerated evolution and triggered positive selection in the beta-xylosidase enzyme of Mycosphaerella graminicola
Brunner, Patrick C.
McDonald, Bruce A.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) of plant pathogens are receiving increasing interest for their potential to trigger plant defense reactions. In an antagonistic co-evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen, PCWDEs could be under strong selection. Here, we tested the hypothesis that PCWDEs in the fungal wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola have been positively selected by analyzing ratios of non-synonymous and synonymous nucleotide changes in the genes encoding these enzymes. Analyses of five PCWDEs demonstrated that one (β-xylosidase) has been under strong positive selection and experienced an accelerated rate of evolution. In contrast, PCWDEs in the closest relatives of M. graminicola collected from wild grasses did not show evidence for selection or deviation from a molecular clock. Since the genealogical divergence of M. graminicola from these latter species coincided with the onset of agriculture, we hypothesize that the recent domestication of the host plant and/or agricultural practices triggered positive selection in β-xylosidase and that this enzyme played a key role in the emergence of a host-specialized pathogen Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
Pages / Article No.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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