Genomic Characterization of Parengyodontium torokii sp. nov., a Biofilm-Forming Fungus Isolated from Mars 2020 Assembly Facility

J Fungi (Basel). 2022 Jan 9;8(1):66. doi: 10.3390/jof8010066.


A fungal strain (FJII-L10-SW-P1) was isolated from the Mars 2020 spacecraft assembly facility and exhibited biofilm formation on spacecraft-qualified Teflon surfaces. The reconstruction of a six-loci gene tree (ITS, LSU, SSU, RPB1 and RPB2, and TEF1) using multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) analyses of the strain FJII-L10-SW-P1 supported a close relationship to other known Parengyodontium album subclade 3 isolates while being phylogenetically distinct from subclade 1 strains. The zig-zag rachides morphology of the conidiogenous cells and spindle-shaped conidia were the distinct morphological characteristics of the P. album subclade 3 strains. The MLST data and morphological analysis supported the conclusion that the P. album subclade 3 strains could be classified as a new species of the genus Parengyodontium and placed in the family Cordycipitaceae. The name Parengyodontium torokii sp. nov. is proposed to accommodate the strain, with FJII-L10-SW-P1 as the holotype. The genome of the FJII-L10-SW-P1 strain was sequenced, annotated, and the secondary metabolite clusters were identified. Genes predicted to be responsible for biofilm formation and adhesion to surfaces were identified. Homology-based assignment of gene ontologies to the predicted proteome of P. torokii revealed the presence of gene clusters responsible for synthesizing several metabolic compounds, including a cytochalasin that was also verified using traditional metabolomic analysis.

Keywords: biofilm; fungi; genomics; mars 2020 mission; metabolomics; morphological analysis; phylogenetic analysis.