Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genomics analysis of Aphanomyces spp. identifies a new class of oomycete effector associated with host adaptation.

Abstract

Background: Oomycetes are a group of filamentous eukaryotic microorganisms that have colonized all terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems, and they include prominent plant pathogens. The Aphanomyces genus is unique in its ability to infect both plant and animal species, and as such exemplifies oomycete versatility in adapting to different hosts and environments. Dissecting the underpinnings of oomycete diversity provides insights into their specificity and pathogenic mechanisms. Results: By carrying out genomic analyses of the plant pathogen A. euteiches and the crustacean pathogen A. astaci, we show that host specialization is correlated with specialized secretomes that are adapted to the deconstruction of the plant cell wall in A. euteiches and protein degradation in A. astaci. The A. euteiches genome is characterized by a large repertoire of small secreted protein (SSP)-encoding genes that are highly induced during plant infection, and are not detected in other oomycetes. Functional analysis revealed an SSP from A. euteiches containing a predicted nuclear-localization signal which shuttles to the plant nucleus and increases plant susceptibility to infection. Conclusion: Collectively, our results show that Aphanomyces host adaptation is associated with evolution of specialized secretomes and identify SSPs as a new class of putative oomycete effectors.