Genomic plasticity enables adaptation to changing environments, which is especially relevant for pathogens that engage in “arms races” with their hosts. In many pathogens, virulence genes reside in highly variable, transposon-rich, physically distinct genomic compartments. However, understanding of the evolution of such compartments, and the role of transposons therein, remains limited. We show that transposons are the major driving force for adaptive genome evolution in the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae, and that highly variable lineage-specific (LS) regions evolved by genomic rearrangements that are mediated by erroneous double-strand repair, often utilizing transposons. Remarkably, LS regions are enriched in active transposons, which may contribute to local genome plasticity. Thus, we provide evidence for genome shaping by transposons, both in an active and passive manner, which impacts the evolution of V. dahliae virulence. Based on this knowledge, we are now able to identify crucial virulence factors of V. dahliae, which also allows investigating causal relationships between particular effectors and pathotypes.
|Title of host publication||Book of Abstracts 29th Fungal Genetics Conference Asilomar 17, Pacific Grove, CA, USA 14-19 March 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Event||29th Fungal Genetics Conference - Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA, United States|
Duration: 14 Mar 2017 → 19 Mar 2017
|Conference||29th Fungal Genetics Conference|
|City||Pacific Grove, CA|
|Period||14/03/17 → 19/03/17|