The conifer root rot pathogens Heterobasidion irregulare and Heterobasidion occidentale employ different strategies to infect Norway spruce

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 3;10(1):5884. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62521-x.


Heterobasidion irregulare and H. occidentale are two closely related conifer root rot pathogens in the H. annosum sensu lato (s.l.) species complex. The two species H. irregulare and H. occidentale have different host preference with pine and non-pine tree species favored, respectively. The comparison of transcriptomes of H. irregulare and H. occidentale growing in Norway spruce bark, a susceptible host non-native to North America, showed large differences in gene expression. Heterobasidion irregulare induced more genes involved in detoxification of host compounds and in production of secondary metabolites, while the transcriptome induced in H. occidentale was more oriented towards carbohydrate degradation. Along with their separated evolutionary history, the difference might be driven by their host preferences as indicated by the differentially expressed genes enriched in particular Gene Ontology terms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basidiomycota / genetics
  • Basidiomycota / pathogenicity
  • Basidiomycota / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genome, Fungal / genetics
  • Picea / metabolism
  • Picea / microbiology*
  • Plant Bark / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Roots / microbiology*
  • Virulence