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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes