The Plasmodiophora Brassicae Genome Reveals Insights in Its Life Cycle and Ancestry of Chitin Synthases

Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 18;5:11153. doi: 10.1038/srep11153.


Plasmodiophora brassicae causes clubroot, a major disease of Brassica oil and vegetable crops worldwide. P. brassicae is a Plasmodiophorid, obligate biotrophic protist in the eukaryotic kingdom of Rhizaria. Here we present the 25.5 Mb genome draft of P. brassicae, developmental stage-specific transcriptomes and a transcriptome of Spongospora subterranea, the Plasmodiophorid causing powdery scab on potato. Like other biotrophic pathogens both Plasmodiophorids are reduced in metabolic pathways. Phytohormones contribute to the gall phenotypes of infected roots. We report a protein (PbGH3) that can modify auxin and jasmonic acid. Plasmodiophorids contain chitin in cell walls of the resilient resting spores. If recognized, chitin can trigger defense responses in plants. Interestingly, chitin-related enzymes of Plasmodiophorids built specific families and the carbohydrate/chitin binding (CBM18) domain is enriched in the Plasmodiophorid secretome. Plasmodiophorids chitin synthases belong to two families, which were present before the split of the eukaryotic Stramenopiles/Alveolates/Rhizaria/Plantae and Metazoa/Fungi/Amoebozoa megagroups, suggesting chitin synthesis to be an ancient feature of eukaryotes. This exemplifies the importance of genomic data from unexplored eukaryotic groups, such as the Plasmodiophorids, to decipher evolutionary relationships and gene diversification of early eukaryotes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Chitin Synthase / chemistry
  • Chitin Synthase / genetics*
  • Chitin Synthase / metabolism*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Genome, Protozoan*
  • Genomics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Life Cycle Stages*
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multigene Family
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plasmodiophorida / drug effects
  • Plasmodiophorida / physiology*
  • Protein Conformation


  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Chitin Synthase