DNA methylation and chromatin architecture contribute to pathogenic fungal genome organization and adaptation

D.E. Cook III, M.F. Seidl, H.M. Kramer, B.P.H.J. Thomma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Fungal pathogens have evolved diverse strategies to overcome host immunity. During fungal-plant interactions, invading fungi utilize secreted proteins, termed effectors, to avoid or subvert the plant immune response through varied biochemical mechanisms. Effector genes are not randomly distributed across a genome, but often reside in polymorphic regions of the genome, clustering with repetitive DNA. Despite the ubiquity and importance of fungal effectors, our mechanistic understanding of their transcriptional regulation and genome organization remains inadequate. As such, we are addressing two key questions 1) How are in planta effectors transcriptionally regulated? 2) How does repetitive DNA contribute to the evolution of highly variable genomic regions that contribute to fungal virulence? Using a variety of genetic and computational approaches, we are characterizing how DNA modifications and chromatin structure (the organization of DNA in a cell) contribute to the evolution of virulence using the soil-borne fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae. The genome of V. dahliae is predicted to express numerous homologs of known DNA and chromatin modifying proteins, including three putative DNA methyltransferases. We have identified that a single DNA methyltransferase controls a significant portion of the observed DNA methylation at repetitive DNA. Interestingly, repetitive DNA arising from recent segmental genome duplications are devoid of DNA methylation and are more transcriptionally active relative to repetitive DNA at other loci. Additionally, we are assaying the genome for open chromatin to develop a comprehensive view of how gene regulation and chromatin architecture impacts the evolution of fungal virulence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract Book 29th Fungal Genetics Conference Asilomar 17, Pacific Grove, CA, USA 14-19 March 2017
PublisherGenetics Society of America
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event29th Fungal Genetics Conference - Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA, United States
Duration: 14 Mar 201719 Mar 2017


Conference29th Fungal Genetics Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPacific Grove, CA
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'DNA methylation and chromatin architecture contribute to pathogenic fungal genome organization and adaptation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this