Canadian Forest Service Publications

Transcriptome analysis of the white pine blister rust pathogen Cronartium ribicola: de novo assembly, expression profiling, and identification of candidate effectors. 2015. Liu, J.J.; Sturrock, R.N.; Sniezko, R.A.; Williams, H.; Benton, R.; Zamany, A. MBC Genomics. 16: 678.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 37191

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1861-1

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Background: The fungus Cronartium ribicola (Cri) is an economically and ecologically important forest pathogen that causes white pine blister rust (WPBR) disease on five-needle pines. To cause stem cankers and kill white pine trees the fungus elaborates a life cycle with five stages of spore development on five-needle pines and the alternate host Ribes plants. To increase our understanding of molecular WP-BR interactions, here we report genome-wide transcriptional profile analysis of C. ribicola using RNA-seq. Results: cDNA libraries were constructed from aeciospore, urediniospore, and western white pine (Pinus monticola) tissues post Cri infection. Over 200 million RNA-seq 100-bp paired-end (PE) reads from rust fungal spores were de novo assembled and a reference transcriptome was generated with 17,880 transcripts that were expressed from 13,629 unigenes. A total of 734 unique proteins were predicted as a part of the Cri secretome from complete open reading frames (ORFs), and 41 % of them were Cronartium-specific. This study further identified a repertoire of candidate effectors and other pathogenicity determinants. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified to gain an understanding of molecular events important during the WPBR fungus life cycle by comparing Cri transcriptomes at different infection stages. Large-scale changes of in planta gene expression profiles were observed, revealing that multiple fungal biosynthetic pathways were enhanced during mycelium growth inside infected pine stem tissues. Conversely, many fungal genes that were up-regulated at the urediniospore stage appeared to be signalling components and transporters. The secreted fungal protein genes that were up-regulated in pine needle tissues during early infection were primarily associated with cell wall modifications, possibly to mask the rust pathogen from plant defenses. Conclusion: This comprehensive transcriptome profiling substantially improves our current understanding of molecular WP-BR interactions. The repertoire of candidate effectors and other putative pathogenicity determinants identified here are valuable for future functional analysis of Cri virulence and pathogenicity.