Functional Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics Reveal Distinct Combat Strategies Between Lineages of Wood-Degrading Fungi With Redundant Wood Decay Mechanisms

Gerald N. Presley, Jiwei Zhang, Samuel O. Purvine, Jonathan S. Schilling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Wood-degrading fungi vary in their strategies for deconstructing wood, and their competitive successes shape the rate and fate of carbon released from wood, Earth’s largest pool of aboveground terrestrial carbon. In this study, one-on-one interspecific interactions between two model brown rot (carbohydrate-selective) fungi, Gloeophyllum trabeum and Rhodonia (Postia) placenta, were studied on wood wafers where a clearly resolved interaction zone (IZ) could be generated, reproducibly. Comparative RNAseq and proteomics between the IZ and non-interacting hyphae of each species identified combative strategies for each fungus. Glycoside hydrolases were a relatively smaller portion of the interaction secretome compared to non-interacting hyphae. The interaction zone showed higher pectinase specific activity than all other sampling locations, and higher laminarinase specific activity (branched β-glucan proxy) was seen in the IZ secretome relative to equivalent hyphae in single-species cultures. Our efforts also identified two distinct competitive strategies in these two fungi with a shared nutritional mode (brown rot) but polyphyletic ancestral lineages. Gloeophyllum trabeum (Gloeophyllum clade) upregulated more secondary metabolite (SM) synthesis genes in response to a competitor than did R. placenta. R. placenta (Antrodia clade) upregulated a larger variety of uncharacterized oxidoreductases in interacting hyphae, suggesting that these may play a role in mediating competitor response in this fungus. Both species produced several hypothetical proteins exclusively in the interaction zone, leaving questions as to the function of these proteins. This work supports the existence of multiple interaction strategies among brown rot fungi and highlights the functional diversity among wood decay fungi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1646
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (Early Career Grant DESC0004012 to JS, from the Office of Biological and Ecological Research (BER) and BER Grant DE-SC0012742 to JS and Ellen Panisko. This work was also funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Programs under Grant No. 00039202 to GP. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DOE or NSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Presley, Zhang, Purvine and Schilling.


  • brown rot
  • fungal interactions
  • microbial ecology
  • secondary metabolites
  • wood decay basidiomycetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics Reveal Distinct Combat Strategies Between Lineages of Wood-Degrading Fungi With Redundant Wood Decay Mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this