Transcriptional analysis of mating and pre-infection stages of the anther smut, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae.

Publication type
Journal Article

Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae is an obligate biotrophic parasite of the wildflower species, Silene latifolia. This dikaryotic fungus, commonly known as an anther smut, requires that haploid, yeast-like sporidia of opposite mating types fuse and differentiate into dikaryotic hyphae that penetrate host tissue as part of the fungal lifecycle. Mating occurs under conditions of cool temperatures and limited nutrients. Further development requires host cues or chemical mimics, including a variety of lipids, e.g., phytols. To identify global changes in transcription associated with developmental shifts, RNA-Seq was conducted at several in vitro stages of fungal propagation, i.e., haploid cells grown independently on rich and nutrient-limited media, mated cells on nutrient-limited media, as well as a time-course of such mated cells exposed to phytol. Comparison of haploid cells grown under rich and nutrient-limited conditions identified classes of genes likely associated with general nutrient availability, including components of the RNAi machinery. Some gene enrichment patterns comparing the nutrient-limited and mated transcriptomes suggested gene expression changes associated with the mating program (e.g., homeodomain binding proteins, secreted proteins, proteins unique to M. lychnidis-dioicae¸ multicopper oxidases, and RhoGEFs). Analysis for phytol treatment compared with mated cells alone allowed identification of genes likely involved in the dikaryotic switch (e.g., oligopeptide transporters). Gene categories of particular note in all three conditions included those in the major facilitator superfamily, proteins containing PFAM domains of the secretory lipase family, as well as proteins predicted to be secreted, many of which have the hallmarks of fungal effectors with potential roles in pathogenicity.

Year of Publication
Date Published
2017 Jan 17
PubMed ID