Sequencing the genome of Marssonina brunnea reveals fungus-poplar co-evolution

Sheng Zhu, You Zhi Cao, Cong Jiang, Bi Yue Tan, Zhong Wang, Sisi Feng, Liang Zhang, Xiao Hua Su, Brona Brejova, Tomas Vinar, Meng Xu, Ming Xiu Wang, Shou Gong Zhang, Min Ren Huang, Rongling Wu, Yan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: The fungus Marssonina brunnea is a causal pathogen of Marssonina leaf spot that devastates poplar plantations by defoliating susceptible trees before normal fall leaf drop.Results: We sequence the genome of M. brunnea with a size of 52 Mb assembled into 89 scaffolds, representing the first sequenced Dermateaceae genome. By inoculating this fungus onto a poplar hybrid clone, we investigate how M. brunnea interacts and co-evolves with its host to colonize poplar leaves. While a handful of virulence genes in M. brunnea, mostly from the LysM family, are detected to up-regulate during infection, the poplar down-regulates its resistance genes, such as nucleotide binding site domains and leucine rich repeats, in response to infection. From 10,027 predicted proteins of M. brunnea in a comparison with those from poplar, we identify four poplar transferases that stimulate the host to resist M. brunnea. These transferas-encoding genes may have driven the co-evolution of M. brunnea and Populus during the process of infection and anti-infection.Conclusions: Our results from the draft sequence of the M. brunnea genome provide evidence for genome-genome interactions that play an important role in poplar-pathogen co-evolution. This knowledge could help to design effective strategies for controlling Marssonina leaf spot in poplar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number382
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 9 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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