Genus-Wide Comparative Genome Analyses of Colletotrichum Species Reveal Specific Gene Family Losses and Gains during Adaptation to Specific Infection Lifestyles

Genome Biol Evol. 2016 May 22;8(5):1467-81. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw089.


Members from Colletotrichum genus adopt a diverse range of lifestyles during infection of plants and represent a group of agriculturally devastating pathogens. In this study, we present the draft genome of Colletotrichum incanum from the spaethianum clade of Colletotrichum and the comparative analyses with five other Colletotrichum species from distinct lineages. We show that the C. incanum strain, originally isolated from Japanese daikon radish, is able to infect both eudicot plants, such as certain ecotypes of the eudicot Arabidopsis, and monocot plants, such as lily. Being closely related to Colletotrichum species both in the graminicola clade, whose members are restricted strictly to monocot hosts, and to the destructivum clade, whose members are mostly associated with dicot infections, C. incanum provides an interesting model system for comparative genomics to study how fungal pathogens adapt to monocot and dicot hosts. Genus-wide comparative genome analyses reveal that Colletotrichum species have tailored profiles of their carbohydrate-degrading enzymes according to their infection lifestyles. In addition, we show evidence that positive selection acting on secreted and nuclear localized proteins that are highly conserved may be important in adaptation to specific hosts or ecological niches.

Keywords: Colletotrichum; comparative genomics; evolutionary biology; genome assembly; hemibiotrophic fungi; plant pathogen.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Colletotrichum / genetics
  • Colletotrichum / pathogenicity
  • Disease Resistance / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Multigene Family / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Species Specificity