De novo assembly and comparative transcriptome analysis of Monilinia fructicola, Monilinia laxa and Monilinia fructigena, the causal agents of brown rot on stone fruits
De Miccolis Angelini, R.M.; Abate, D.; Rotolo, C.; Gerin, D.; Pollastro, S.; Faretra, F.
Bmc Genomics 19(1): 436
ISSN/ISBN: 1471-2164 PMID: 29866047 DOI: 10.1186/s12864-018-4817-4
Brown rots are important fungal diseases of stone and pome fruits. They are caused by several Monilinia species but M. fructicola, M. laxa and M. fructigena are the most common all over the world. Although they have been intensively studied, the availability of genomic and transcriptomic data in public databases is still scant. We sequenced, assembled and annotated the transcriptomes of the three pathogens using mRNA from germinating conidia and actively growing mycelia of two isolates of opposite mating types per each species for comparative transcriptome analyses. Illumina sequencing was used to generate about 70 million of paired-end reads per species, that were de novo assembled in 33,861 contigs for M. fructicola, 31,103 for M. laxa and 28,890 for M. fructigena. Approximately, 50% of the assembled contigs had significant hits when blasted against the NCBI non-redundant protein database and top-hits results were represented by Botrytis cinerea, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Sclerotinia borealis proteins. More than 90% of the obtained sequences were complete, the percentage of duplications was always less than 14% and fragmented and missing transcripts less than 5%. Orthologous transcripts were identified by tBLASTn analysis using the B. cinerea proteome as reference. Comparative transcriptome analyses revealed 65 transcripts over-expressed (FC ≥ 8 and FDR ≤ 0.05) or unique in M. fructicola, 30 in M. laxa and 31 in M. fructigena. Transcripts were involved in processes affecting fungal development, diversity and host-pathogen interactions, such as plant cell wall-degrading and detoxifying enzymes, zinc finger transcription factors, MFS transporters, cell surface proteins, key enzymes in biosynthesis and metabolism of antibiotics and toxins, and transposable elements. This is the first large-scale reconstruction and annotation of the complete transcriptomes of M. fructicola, M. laxa and M. fructigena and the first comparative transcriptome analysis among the three pathogens revealing differentially expressed genes with potential important roles in metabolic and physiological processes related to fungal morphogenesis and development, diversity and pathogenesis which need further investigations. We believe that the data obtained represent a cornerstone for research aimed at improving knowledge on the population biology, physiology and plant-pathogen interactions of these important phytopathogenic fungi.