Genome wide analysis of the transition to pathogenic lifestyles in Magnaporthales fungi
The rice blast fungus Pyricularia oryzae (syn. Magnaporthe oryzae, Magnaporthe grisea), a member of the order Magnaporthales in the class Sordariomycetes, is an important plant pathogen and a model species for studying pathogen infection and plant-fungal interaction. In this study, we generated genome sequence data from five additional Magnaporthales fungi including non-pathogenic species, and performed comparative genome analysis of a total of 13 fungal species in the class Sordariomycetes to understand the evolutionary history of the Magnaporthales and of fungal pathogenesis. Our results suggest that the Magnaporthales diverged ca. 31 millon years ago from other Sordariomycetes, with the phytopathogenic blast clade diverging ca. 21 million years ago. Little evidence of inter-phylum horizontal gene transfer (HGT) was detected in Magnaporthales. In contrast, many genes underwent positive selection in this order and the majority of these sequences are clade-specific. The blast clade genomes contain more secretome and avirulence effector genes, which likely play key roles in the interaction between Pyricularia species and their plant hosts. Finally, analysis of transposable elements (TE) showed differing proportions of TE classes among Magnaporthales genomes, suggesting that species-specific patterns may hold clues to the history of host/environmental adaptation in these fungi.