Emergence of a hybrid PKS-NRPS secondary metabolite cluster in a clonal population of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Academic Article uri icon


  • Secondary metabolites (SMs) are crucial for fungi and vary in function from beneficial antibiotics to pathogenicity factors. To generate diversified SMs that enable different functions, SM-coding regions rapidly evolve in fungal genomes. However, the driving force and genetic mechanism of fungal SM diversification in the context of host-pathogen interactions remain largely unknown. Previously, we grouped field populations of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (syn: Pyricularia oryzae) into three major globally distributed clades based on population genomic analyses. Here, we characterize a recent duplication of an avirulent gene-containing SM cluster, ACE1, in a clonal M. oryzae population (Clade 2). We demonstrate that the ACE1 cluster is specifically duplicated in Clade 2, a dominant clade in indica rice-growing areas. With long-read sequencing, we obtained chromosome-level genome sequences of four Clade 2 isolates, which displayed differences in genomic organization of the ACE1 duplication process. Comparative genomic analyses suggested that the original ACE1 cluster experienced frequent rearrangement in Clade 2 isolates and revealed that the new ACE1 cluster is located in a newly formed and transposable element-rich region. Taken together, these results highlight the frequent mutation and expansion of an avirulent gene-containing SM cluster through transposable element-mediated whole-cluster duplication in the context of host-pathogen interactions.

published proceedings

  • Environ Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 2.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhong, Z., Lin, L., Zheng, H., Bao, J., Chen, M., Zhang, L., ... Wang, Z.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Zhong, Zhenhui||Lin, Lianyu||Zheng, Huakun||Bao, Jiandong||Chen, Meilian||Zhang, Limei||Tang, Wei||Ebbole, Daniel J||Wang, Zonghua

publication date

  • July 2020