Habitat-Defining Genes and Synteny of Conditionally Dispensable (CD) Chromosomes in the Fungus Nectria Haematococca
AdvisorVanEtten, Hans D.
Committee ChairVanEtten, Hans D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIndividual isolates of the fungus Nectria haematococca exist in a wide range of habitats and part of this diversity is attributed to the presence of conditionally dispensable (CD) chromosomes that carry habitat-defining genes. In the current study a new factor located on one of these CD chromosomes was found. This trait allows pea pathogenic isolates of N. haematococca to grow in homoserine, a compound present in large amounts on pea root exudates. The gene(s) for homoserine utilization (HUT) are located on the same CD chromosome that carries the cluster of genes for pea pathogenicity, the PEP cluster. The PDA1 gene, a member of the PEP cluster, is routinely used as a marker for the presence of this CD chromosome, therefore it has been called the PDA1-CD chromosome. For the purpose of identifying the HUT gene(s), a physical map of the PDA1-CD chromosome was constructed. This map, in combination with synteny analysis, and Southern hybridizations led to the identification of a region of 365Kb that is likely to contain the HUT gene. By searching the publicly available genome of N. haematococca several candidates for HUT were identified.The synteny evaluation between the PDA1-CD chromosome and a different CD chromosome that carries the MAK1 gene, for chickpea pathogenicity, revealed a region (> 463Kb) of synteny, which advocates for a common ancestor for these CD chromosomes. However a large region (~ 1 Mb) in each of the CD chromosomes was found to carry unique DNA, therefore we proposed that individual isolates of this fungus contain large regions of unique DNA located on the CD chromosomes. The localization of syntenic regions also suggests that breakage points previous identified in the MAK1-CD chromosome could potentially be "hot spots" for recombination between both CD chromosomes. Furthermore, the anchoring of the PDA1-CD map to the genome of N. haematococca allowed the identification of additional putative habitat colonization genes present on both CD chromosomes, and niche-defining genes on the PDA1-CD chromosome.
Degree ProgramPlant Pathology