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Comparative transcriptomics of Gymnosporangium spp. teliospores reveals a conserved genetic program at this specific stage of the rust fungal life cycle

Abstract : Gymnosporangium spp. are fungal plant pathogens causing rust disease and most of them are known to infect two different host plants (heteroecious) with four spore stages (demicyclic). In the present study, we sequenced the transcriptome of G. japonicum teliospores on its host plant Juniperus chinensis and we performed comparison to the transcriptomes of G. yamadae and G. asiaticum at the same life stage, that happens in the same host but on different organs. Results Functional annotation for the three Gymnosporangium species showed the expression of a conserved genetic program with the top abundant cellular categories corresponding to energy, translation and signal transduction processes, indicating that this life stage is particularly active. Moreover, the survey of predicted secretomes in the three Gymnosporangium transcriptomes revealed shared and specific genes encoding carbohydrate active enzymes and secreted proteins of unknown function that could represent candidate pathogenesis effectors. A transcript encoding a hemicellulase of the glycoside hydrolase 26 family, previously identified in other rust fungi, was particularly highly expressed suggesting a general role in rust fungi. The comparison between the transcriptomes of the three Gymnosporangium spp. and selected Pucciniales species in different taxonomical families allowed to identify lineage-specific protein families that may relate to the biology of teliospores in rust fungi. Among clustered gene families, 205, 200 and 152 proteins were specifically identified in G. japonicum, G. yamadae and G. asiaticum, respectively, including candidate effectors expressed in teliospores. Conclusions This comprehensive comparative transcriptomics study of three Gymnosporangium spp. identified gene functions and metabolic pathways particularly expressed in teliospores, a stage of the life cycle that is mostly overlooked in rust fungi. Secreted protein encoding transcripts expressed in teliospores may reveal new candidate effectors related to pathogenesis. Although this spore stage is not involved in host plant infection but in the production of basidiospores infecting plants in the Amygdaloideae, we speculate that candidate effectors may be expressed as early as the teliospore stage for preparing further infection by basidiospores.
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Si-Qi Tao, Bin Cao, Emmanuelle Morin, Ying-Mei Liang, Sébastien Duplessis. Comparative transcriptomics of Gymnosporangium spp. teliospores reveals a conserved genetic program at this specific stage of the rust fungal life cycle. BMC Genomics, BioMed Central, 2019, 20 (1), ⟨10.1186/s12864-019-6099-x⟩. ⟨hal-02905570⟩

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