A comprehensive transcription factor and DNA-binding motif resource for the construction of gene regulatory networks in Botrytis cinerea and Trichoderma atroviride

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2021 Nov 18:19:6212-6228. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2021.11.012. eCollection 2021.


Botrytis cinerea and Trichoderma atroviride are two relevant fungi in agricultural systems. To gain insights into these organisms' transcriptional gene regulatory networks (GRNs), we generated a manually curated transcription factor (TF) dataset for each of them, followed by a GRN inference utilizing available sequence motifs describing DNA-binding specificity and global gene expression data. As a proof of concept of the usefulness of this resource to pinpoint key transcriptional regulators, we employed publicly available transcriptomics data and a newly generated dual RNA-seq dataset to build context-specific Botrytis and Trichoderma GRNs under two different biological paradigms: exposure to continuous light and Botrytis-Trichoderma confrontation assays. Network analysis of fungal responses to constant light revealed striking differences in the transcriptional landscape of both fungi. On the other hand, we found that the confrontation of both microorganisms elicited a distinct set of differentially expressed genes with changes in T. atroviride exceeding those in B. cinerea. Using our regulatory network data, we were able to determine, in both fungi, central TFs involved in this interaction response, including TFs controlling a large set of extracellular peptidases in the biocontrol agent T. atroviride. In summary, our work provides a comprehensive catalog of transcription factors and regulatory interactions for both organisms. This catalog can now serve as a basis for generating novel hypotheses on transcriptional regulatory circuits in different experimental contexts.

Keywords: Botrytis cinerea; Gene Regulatory Network; Mycoparasitism; Transcription factors; Trichoderma atroviride.