In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (9)

Articles by Salim Bourras in JoVE

Other articles by Salim Bourras on PubMed

Effector Diversification Within Compartments of the Leptosphaeria Maculans Genome Affected by Repeat-Induced Point Mutations

Nature Communications. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21326234

Fungi are of primary ecological, biotechnological and economic importance. Many fundamental biological processes that are shared by animals and fungi are studied in fungi due to their experimental tractability. Many fungi are pathogens or mutualists and are model systems to analyse effector genes and their mechanisms of diversification. In this study, we report the genome sequence of the phytopathogenic ascomycete Leptosphaeria maculans and characterize its repertoire of protein effectors. The L. maculans genome has an unusual bipartite structure with alternating distinct guanine and cytosine-equilibrated and adenine and thymine (AT)-rich blocks of homogenous nucleotide composition. The AT-rich blocks comprise one-third of the genome and contain effector genes and families of transposable elements, both of which are affected by repeat-induced point mutation, a fungal-specific genome defence mechanism. This genomic environment for effectors promotes rapid sequence diversification and underpins the evolutionary potential of the fungus to adapt rapidly to novel host-derived constraints.

Incidence of Genome Structure, DNA Asymmetry, and Cell Physiology on T-DNA Integration in Chromosomes of the Phytopathogenic Fungus Leptosphaeria Maculans

G3 (Bethesda, Md.). Aug, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22908038

The ever-increasing generation of sequence data is accompanied by unsatisfactory functional annotation, and complex genomes, such as those of plants and filamentous fungi, show a large number of genes with no predicted or known function. For functional annotation of unknown or hypothetical genes, the production of collections of mutants using Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) associated with genotyping and phenotyping has gained wide acceptance. ATMT is also widely used to identify pathogenicity determinants in pathogenic fungi. A systematic analysis of T-DNA borders was performed in an ATMT-mutagenized collection of the phytopathogenic fungus Leptosphaeria maculans to evaluate the features of T-DNA integration in its particular transposable element-rich compartmentalized genome. A total of 318 T-DNA tags were recovered and analyzed for biases in chromosome and genic compartments, existence of CG/AT skews at the insertion site, and occurrence of microhomologies between the T-DNA left border (LB) and the target sequence. Functional annotation of targeted genes was done using the Gene Ontology annotation. The T-DNA integration mainly targeted gene-rich, transcriptionally active regions, and it favored biological processes consistent with the physiological status of a germinating spore. T-DNA integration was strongly biased toward regulatory regions, and mainly promoters. Consistent with the T-DNA intranuclear-targeting model, the density of T-DNA insertion correlated with CG skew near the transcription initiation site. The existence of microhomologies between promoter sequences and the T-DNA LB flanking sequence was also consistent with T-DNA integration to host DNA mediated by homologous recombination based on the microhomology-mediated end-joining pathway.

Agrobacterium Tumefaciens Gene Transfer: How a Plant Pathogen Hacks the Nuclei of Plant and Nonplant Organisms

Phytopathology. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26151736

Agrobacterium species are soilborne gram-negative bacteria exhibiting predominantly a saprophytic lifestyle. Only a few of these species are capable of parasitic growth on plants, causing either hairy root or crown gall diseases. The core of the infection strategy of pathogenic Agrobacteria is a genetic transformation of the host cell, via stable integration into the host genome of a DNA fragment called T-DNA. This genetic transformation results in oncogenic reprogramming of the host to the benefit of the pathogen. This unique ability of interkingdom DNA transfer was largely used as a tool for genetic engineering. Thus, the artificial host range of Agrobacterium is continuously expanding and includes plant and nonplant organisms. The increasing availability of genomic tools encouraged genome-wide surveys of T-DNA tagged libraries, and the pattern of T-DNA integration in eukaryotic genomes was studied. Therefore, data have been collected in numerous laboratories to attain a better understanding of T-DNA integration mechanisms and potential biases. This review focuses on the intranuclear mechanisms necessary for proper targeting and stable expression of Agrobacterium oncogenic T-DNA in the host cell. More specifically, the role of genome features and the putative involvement of host's transcriptional machinery in relation to the T-DNA integration and effects on gene expression are discussed. Also, the mechanisms underlying T-DNA integration into specific genome compartments is reviewed, and a theoretical model for T-DNA intranuclear targeting is presented.

Genetic and Molecular Characterization of a Locus Involved in Avirulence of Blumeria Graminis F. Sp. Tritici on Wheat Pm3 Resistance Alleles

Fungal Genetics and Biology : FG & B. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26165518

Wheat powdery mildew is caused by the obligate biotrophic fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici. The allelic series of the wheat Pm3 gene conferring race-specific resistance against powdery mildew has been well characterized functionally, and recently the corresponding avirulence gene AvrPm3a/f triggering the specific recognition by Pm3a and Pm3f alleles was cloned. Here, we describe the genetic and molecular analysis of two additional Blumeria loci involved in the resistance mediated by the Pm3c and Pm3f alleles. We genetically identified the two loci and mapped at high resolution one locus involved in the avirulence towards both Pm3c and Pm3f. The single candidate gene Bcg1 was identified in a physical target interval of 26kb defined by flanking genetic markers. Bcg1 encodes a small secreted protein sharing structural homology with ribonucleases and belongs to a family of clustered putative effector genes under diversifying selection. We found a very good, but not complete, correlation of Bcg1 haplotypes with the phenotypes of natural isolates. Two mutants were generated that were affected in their phenotypes towards Pm3a and Pm3f but did not show any sequence polymorphism in Bcg1. Our results suggest that avirulence to Pm3 in Blumeria is determined by a complex network of genes, in which Bcg1 might have a central role as a modifier of the Pm3/AvrPm3 interactions.

Multiple Avirulence Loci and Allele-Specific Effector Recognition Control the Pm3 Race-Specific Resistance of Wheat to Powdery Mildew

The Plant Cell. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26452600

In cereals, several mildew resistance genes occur as large allelic series; for example, in wheat (Triticum aestivum and Triticum turgidum), 17 functional Pm3 alleles confer agronomically important race-specific resistance to powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis). The molecular basis of race specificity has been characterized in wheat, but little is known about the corresponding avirulence genes in powdery mildew. Here, we dissected the genetics of avirulence for six Pm3 alleles and found that three major Avr loci affect avirulence, with a common locus_1 involved in all AvrPm3-Pm3 interactions. We cloned the effector gene AvrPm3(a2/f2) from locus_2, which is recognized by the Pm3a and Pm3f alleles. Induction of a Pm3 allele-dependent hypersensitive response in transient assays in Nicotiana benthamiana and in wheat demonstrated specificity. Gene expression analysis of Bcg1 (encoded by locus_1) and AvrPm3 (a2/f2) revealed significant differences between isolates, indicating that in addition to protein polymorphisms, expression levels play a role in avirulence. We propose a model for race specificity involving three components: an allele-specific avirulence effector, a resistance gene allele, and a pathogen-encoded suppressor of avirulence. Thus, whereas a genetically simple allelic series controls specificity in the plant host, recognition on the pathogen side is more complex, allowing flexible evolutionary responses and adaptation to resistance genes.

Hybridization of Powdery Mildew Strains Gives Rise to Pathogens on Novel Agricultural Crop Species

Nature Genetics. Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26752267

Throughout the history of agriculture, many new crop species (polyploids or artificial hybrids) have been introduced to diversify products or to increase yield. However, little is known about how these new crops influence the evolution of new pathogens and diseases. Triticale is an artificial hybrid of wheat and rye, and it was resistant to the fungal pathogen powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis) until 2001 (refs. 1,2,3). We sequenced and compared the genomes of 46 powdery mildew isolates covering several formae speciales. We found that B. graminis f. sp. triticale, which grows on triticale and wheat, is a hybrid between wheat powdery mildew (B. graminis f. sp. tritici) and mildew specialized on rye (B. graminis f. sp. secalis). Our data show that the hybrid of the two mildews specialized on two different hosts can infect the hybrid plant species originating from those two hosts. We conclude that hybridization between mildews specialized on different species is a mechanism of adaptation to new crops introduced by agriculture.

Avirulence Genes in Cereal Powdery Mildews: The Gene-for-Gene Hypothesis 2.0

Frontiers in Plant Science. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26973683

The gene-for-gene hypothesis states that for each gene controlling resistance in the host, there is a corresponding, specific gene controlling avirulence in the pathogen. Allelic series of the cereal mildew resistance genes Pm3 and Mla provide an excellent system for genetic and molecular analysis of resistance specificity. Despite this opportunity for molecular research, avirulence genes in mildews remain underexplored. Earlier work in barley powdery mildew (B.g. hordei) has shown that the reaction to some Mla resistance alleles is controlled by multiple genes. Similarly, several genes are involved in the specific interaction of wheat mildew (B.g. tritici) with the Pm3 allelic series. We found that two mildew genes control avirulence on Pm3f: one gene is involved in recognition by the resistance protein as demonstrated by functional studies in wheat and the heterologous host Nicotiana benthamiana. A second gene is a suppressor, and resistance is only observed in mildew genotypes combining the inactive suppressor and the recognized Avr. We propose that such suppressor/avirulence gene combinations provide the basis of specificity in mildews. Depending on the particular gene combinations in a mildew race, different genes will be genetically identified as the "avirulence" gene. Additionally, the observation of two LINE retrotransposon-encoded avirulence genes in B.g. hordei further suggests that the control of avirulence in mildew is more complex than a canonical gene-for-gene interaction. To fully understand the mildew-cereal interactions, more knowledge on avirulence determinants is needed and we propose ways how this can be achieved based on recent advances in the field.

AvrPm2 Encodes an RNase-like Avirulence Effector Which is Conserved in the Two Different Specialized Forms of Wheat and Rye Powdery Mildew Fungus

The New Phytologist. Feb, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27935041

There is a large diversity of genetically defined resistance genes in bread wheat against the powdery mildew pathogen Blumeria graminis (B. g.) f. sp. tritici. Many confer race-specific resistance to this pathogen, but until now only the mildew avirulence gene AvrPm3(a2/f2) that is recognized by Pm3a/f was known molecularly. We performed map-based cloning and genome-wide association studies to isolate a candidate for the mildew avirulence gene AvrPm2. We then used transient expression assays in Nicotiana benthamiana to demonstrate specific and strong recognition of AvrPm2 by Pm2. The virulent AvrPm2 allele arose from a conserved 12 kb deletion, while there is no protein sequence diversity in the gene pool of avirulent B. g. tritici isolates. We found one polymorphic AvrPm2 allele in B. g. triticale and one orthologue in B. g. secalis and both are recognized by Pm2. AvrPm2 belongs to a small gene family encoding structurally conserved RNase-like effectors, including Avra13 from B. g. hordei, the cognate Avr of the barley resistance gene Mla13. These results demonstrate the conservation of functional avirulence genes in two cereal powdery mildews specialized on different hosts, thus providing a possible explanation for successful introgression of resistance genes from rye or other grass relatives to wheat.

Impact of Biotic and Abiotic Factors on the Expression of Fungal Effector-encoding Genes in Axenic Growth Conditions

Fungal Genetics and Biology : FG & B. Feb, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28034799

In phytopathogenic fungi, the expression of hundreds of small secreted protein (SSP)-encoding genes is induced upon primary infection of plants while no or a low level of expression is observed during vegetative growth. In some species such as Leptosphaeria maculans, this coordinated in-planta upregulation of SSP-encoding genes expression relies on an epigenetic control but the signals triggering gene expression in-planta are unknown. In the present study, biotic and abiotic factors that may relieve suppression of SSP-encoding gene expression during axenic growth of L. maculans were investigated. Some abiotic factors (temperature, pH) could have a limited effect on SSP gene expression. In contrast, two types of cellular stresses induced by antibiotics (cycloheximide, phleomycin) activated strongly the transcription of SSP genes. A transcriptomic analysis to cycloheximide exposure revealed that biological processes such as ribosome biosynthesis and rRNA processing were induced whereas important metabolic pathways such as glycogen and nitrogen metabolism, glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid cycle activity were down-regulated. A quantitatively different expression of SSP-encoding genes compared to plant infection was also detected. Interestingly, the same physico-chemical parameters as those identified here for L. maculans effectors were identified to regulate positively or negatively the expression of bacterial effectors. This suggests that apoplastic phytopathogens may react to similar physiological parameters for regulation of their effector genes.

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