NKJ researchers help stopping devastating tree disease

Researchers revealed the genome sequence of a devastating tree pathogen. The disease threatens the Scandinavian broadleaf forests and this new knowledge can help stop it!

 

The new genome resource can be used in future population genomic studies for identification of haplotypes and alleles, and in identifying which effectors may function in infection of woody host plants.

The genome sequence presented provides a resource that can underpin further investigation into the mechanisms of disease caused by P. plurivora, a prevalent but little researched pathogen of important tree species. Our genome sequence of P. plurivora is consistent with the genome architecture of other sequenced Phytophthora species, and we found evidence for elevated ploidy, as can occur in Phytophthora species.

Causes huge economic loss

Plant pathogens belonging to the genus Phytophthora cause disastrous diseases and are responsible for multi-billion dollar losses in agriculture and forestry. Several Phytophthoras such as P. plurivoraP. alniP. cambivoraand P. cactorum are now endemic problems in Scandinavian forests.

Despite causing diseases of different tree species in forest ecosystems, little is known about the mechanisms by which Phytophthoras invade and colonise trees, or the molecular interactions that take place between tree infecting Phytophthoras and host trees. Significant investment has been targeted to develop solutions for Phytophthora crop diseases, most notably for P. infestans and P. sojae.

Limited knowledge

By contrast, there has been divestment in tree biology, particularly the genomic and molecular skills. Consequently, we have limited knowledge about the infection biology of endemic and recently discovered pathogenic Phytophthoras that are an increasing threat to trees in Sweden and worldwide, and the tree resistance mechanisms that may control them. The overarching objective of our research is to investigate mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions and to identify ways to control diseases caused by tree infecting Phytophthoras.

Here we present a draft genome sequence of P. plurivora, originally isolated from diseased European beech (Fagus sylvatica) in Malmö, Sweden. Compared to other sequenced Phytophthora species, the P. plurivora genome assembly is relatively compact, spanning 41 Mb.

Read the article here!

Text: Ramesh Vetukuri, Kaia Ekegren

 

Ramesh Vetukuri is the coordinator of a SNS-NKJ network:

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