Widespread signatures of selection for secreted peptidases in a fungal plant pathogen
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McDonald, Bruce A.
Brunner, Patrick C.
- Journal Article
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Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Background Fungal plant pathogens secrete a large arsenal of hydrolytic enzymes during the course of infection, including peptidases. Secreted peptidases have been extensively studied for their role as effectors. In this study, we combined transcriptomics, comparative genomics and evolutionary analyses to investigate all 39 secreted peptidases in the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici and its close relatives Z. pseudotritici and Z. ardabiliae. Results RNA-seq data revealed that a majority of the secreted peptidases displayed differential transcription during the course of Z. tritici infection, indicative of specialization for different stages in the life cycle. Evolutionary analyses detected widespread evidence of adaptive evolution acting on at least 28 of the peptidases. A few peptidases displayed lineage-specific rates of molecular evolution, suggesting altered selection pressure in Z. tritici following host specialization on domesticated wheat. The peptidases belonging to MEROPS families A1 and G1 emerged as a particularly interesting group that may play key roles in host-pathogen co-evolution, host adaptation and pathogenicity. Sister genes in the A1 and G1 families showed accelerated substitution rates after gene duplications. Conclusions These results suggest widespread evolution of secreted peptidases leading to novel gene functions, consistent with predicted models of “escape from adaptive conflict” and “neo-functionalization”. Our analyses identified candidate genes worthy of functional analyses that may encode effector functions, for example by suppressing plant defenses during the biotrophic phase of infection Show more
Journal / seriesBMC Evolutionary Biology
Pages / Article No.
SubjectPeptidases; Transcriptomics; Adaptive evolution; Neo-functionalization (NEO-F); Escape from adaptive conflict (EAC)
Organisational unit03516 - McDonald, Bruce / McDonald, Bruce
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Is cited by: https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000272843
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