Comparative genomics reveals mobile pathogenicity chromosomes in Fusarium

Li Jun Ma, H. Charlotte Van Der Does, Katherine A. Borkovich, Jeffrey J. Coleman, Marie Josée Daboussi, Antonio Di Pietro, Marie Dufresne, Michael Freitag, Manfred Grabherr, Bernard Henrissat, Petra M. Houterman, Seogchan Kang, Won Bo Shim, Charles Woloshuk, Xiaohui Xie, Jin Rong Xu, John Antoniw, Scott E. Baker, Burton H. Bluhm, Andrew BreakspearDaren W. Brown, Robert A E Butchko, Sinead Chapman, Richard Coulson, Pedro M. Coutinho, Etienne G J Danchin, Andrew Diener, Liane R. Gale, Donald M. Gardiner, Stephen Goff, Kim E. Hammond-Kosack, Karen Hilburn, Aurélie Hua-Van, Wilfried Jonkers, Kemal Kazan, Chinnappa D. Kodira, Michael Koehrsen, Lokesh Kumar, Yong Hwan Lee, Liande Li, John M. Manners, Diego Miranda-Saavedra, Mala Mukherjee, Gyungsoon Park, Jongsun Park, Sook Young Park, Robert H. Proctor, Aviv Regev, M. Carmen Ruiz-Roldan, Divya Sain, Sharadha Sakthikumar, Sean Sykes, David C. Schwartz, B. Gillian Turgeon, Ilan Wapinski, Olen Yoder, Sarah Young, Qiandong Zeng, Shiguo Zhou, James Galagan, Christina A. Cuomo, H. Corby Kistler, Martijn Rep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1163 Scopus citations


Fusarium species are among the most important phytopathogenic and toxigenic fungi. To understand the molecular underpinnings of pathogenicity in the genus Fusarium, we compared the genomes of three phenotypically diverse species: Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium verticillioides and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Our analysis revealed lineage-specific (LS) genomic regions in F. oxysporum that include four entire chromosomes and account for more than one-quarter of the genome. LS regions are rich in transposons and genes with distinct evolutionary profiles but related to pathogenicity, indicative of horizontal acquisition. Experimentally, we demonstrate the transfer of two LS chromosomes between strains of F. oxysporum, converting a non-pathogenic strain into a pathogen. Transfer of LS chromosomes between otherwise genetically isolated strains explains the polyphyletic origin of host specificity and the emergence of new pathogenic lineages in F. oxysporum. These findings put the evolution of fungal pathogenicity into a new perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
Issue number7287
StatePublished - Mar 18 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The 43 sequence of F. verticillioides was provided by Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. Generation of the other 43 sequence of F. verticillioides and 6.83 sequence of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici was funded by the National Research Initiative of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Microbial Genome Sequencing Program (2005-35600-16405) and conducted by the Broad Institute Sequencing Platform. Wayne Xu and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Advanced Computational Research are also acknowledged for their support. The authors thank Leslie Gaffney at the Broad Institute for graphic design and editing and Tracy E. Anderson of the University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences Imaging Center for spore micrographs.


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