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Research article

Transcriptome analysis of the fungal pathogen Rosellinia necatrix during infection of a susceptible avocado rootstock identifies potential mechanisms of pathogenesis

Adela Zumaquero, Satoko Kanematsu, Hitoshi Nakayashiki, Antonio Matas, Elsa Martínez-Ferri, Araceli Barceló-Muñóz, Fernando Pliego Alfaro, Carlos Lopez-Herrera, Francisco Cazorla, Clara Pliego Prieto

Abstract

Background White root rot disease caused by Rosellinia necatrix is one of the most important threats affecting avocado productivity in tropical and subtropical climates. Control of this disease is complex and nowadays, lies in the use of physical and chemical methods, although none have proven to be fully effective. Detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying white root rot disease has the potential of aiding future developments in disease resistance and management. In this regard, this study used RNA-Seq technology to compare the transcriptomic profiles of R. necatrix during infection of susceptible avocado `Dusa´ roots with that obtained from the fungus cultured in rich medium. Results The transcriptomes from three biological replicates of R. necatrix colonizing avocado roots (RGA) and R. necatrix growing on potato dextrose agar media (RGPDA) were analyzed using Illumina sequencing. A total of 12,104 transcripts were obtained, among which 1,937 were differentially expressed genes (DEG), 137 exclusively expressed in RGA and 160 in RGPDA. During the root infection process, genes involved in the production of fungal toxins, detoxification and transport of toxic compounds, hormone biosynthesis, gene silencing and plant cell wall degradation were overexpressed. Interestingly, 24 out of the 137 contigs expressed only during R. necatrix growth on avocado roots, were predicted as candidate effector proteins (CEP) with a probability above 60%. The PHI (Pathogen Host Interaction) database revealed that three of the R. necatrix CEP showed homology with previously annotated effectors, already proven experimentally via pathogen-host interaction. Conclusions The analysis of the full-length transcriptome of R. necatrix during the infection process is suggesting that the success of this fungus to infect roots of diverse crops might be attributed to the production of a wide range of compounds which, singly or in combination, interfere with defense or signaling mechanisms shared among different plant families. The transcriptome analysis of R. necatrix during the infection process provides useful information and facilitates further research to a more in -depth understanding of the biology and virulence of this emergent pathogen. In turn, this will make possible to evolve novel strategies for white root rot management in avocado.

Keywords
ascomycete, effectors, Persea americana, virulence, white root rot

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Preprint: Please note that this article has not completed peer review.
Research article

Transcriptome analysis of the fungal pathogen Rosellinia necatrix during infection of a susceptible avocado rootstock identifies potential mechanisms of pathogenesis

Adela Zumaquero, Satoko Kanematsu, Hitoshi Nakayashiki, Antonio Matas, Elsa Martínez-Ferri, Araceli Barceló-Muñóz, Fernando Pliego Alfaro, Carlos Lopez-Herrera, Francisco Cazorla, Clara Pliego Prieto

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Abstract

Background White root rot disease caused by Rosellinia necatrix is one of the most important threats affecting avocado productivity in tropical and subtropical climates. Control of this disease is complex and nowadays, lies in the use of physical and chemical methods, although none have proven to be fully effective. Detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying white root rot disease has the potential of aiding future developments in disease resistance and management. In this regard, this study used RNA-Seq technology to compare the transcriptomic profiles of R. necatrix during infection of susceptible avocado `Dusa´ roots with that obtained from the fungus cultured in rich medium. Results The transcriptomes from three biological replicates of R. necatrix colonizing avocado roots (RGA) and R. necatrix growing on potato dextrose agar media (RGPDA) were analyzed using Illumina sequencing. A total of 12,104 transcripts were obtained, among which 1,937 were differentially expressed genes (DEG), 137 exclusively expressed in RGA and 160 in RGPDA. During the root infection process, genes involved in the production of fungal toxins, detoxification and transport of toxic compounds, hormone biosynthesis, gene silencing and plant cell wall degradation were overexpressed. Interestingly, 24 out of the 137 contigs expressed only during R. necatrix growth on avocado roots, were predicted as candidate effector proteins (CEP) with a probability above 60%. The PHI (Pathogen Host Interaction) database revealed that three of the R. necatrix CEP showed homology with previously annotated effectors, already proven experimentally via pathogen-host interaction. Conclusions The analysis of the full-length transcriptome of R. necatrix during the infection process is suggesting that the success of this fungus to infect roots of diverse crops might be attributed to the production of a wide range of compounds which, singly or in combination, interfere with defense or signaling mechanisms shared among different plant families. The transcriptome analysis of R. necatrix during the infection process provides useful information and facilitates further research to a more in -depth understanding of the biology and virulence of this emergent pathogen. In turn, this will make possible to evolve novel strategies for white root rot management in avocado.

Figures

Background

Results

Discussion

Conclusion

Methods

List of abbreviations

Declarations

References

Tables

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