Comparative genome sequence analysis underscores mycoparasitism as the ancestral life style of Trichoderma
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BACKGROUND: Mycoparasitism, a lifestyle where one fungus is parasitic on another fungus, has special relevance when the prey is a plant pathogen, providing a strategy for biological control of pests for plant protection. Probably, the most studied biocontrol agents are species of the genus Hypocrea/Trichoderma. RESULTS: Here we report an analysis of the genome sequences of the two biocontrol species Trichoderma atroviride (teleomorph Hypocrea atroviridis) and Trichoderma virens (formerly Gliocladium virens, teleomorph Hypocrea virens), and a comparison with Trichoderma reesei (teleomorph Hypocrea jecorina). These three Trichoderma species display a remarkable conservation of gene order (78 to 96%), and a lack of active mobile elements probably due to repeat-induced point mutation. Several gene families are expanded in the two mycoparasitic species relative to T. reesei or other ascomycetes, and are overrepresented in non-syntenic genome regions. A phylogenetic analysis shows that T. reesei and T. virens are derived relative to T. atroviride. The mycoparasitism-specific genes thus arose in a common Trichoderma ancestor but were subsequently lost in T. reesei. CONCLUSIONS: The data offer a better understanding of mycoparasitism, and thus enforce the development of improved biocontrol strains for efficient and environmentally friendly protection of plants.
author list (cited authors)
Kubicek, C. P., Herrera-Estrella, A., Seidl-Seiboth, V., Martinez, D. A., Druzhinina, I. S., Thon, M., ... Grigoriev, I. V.