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1.  Patterns of genomic variation in the poplar rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina identify pathogenesis-related factors 
Melampsora larici-populina is a fungal pathogen responsible for foliar rust disease on poplar trees, which causes damage to forest plantations worldwide, particularly in Northern Europe. The reference genome of the isolate 98AG31 was previously sequenced using a whole genome shotgun strategy, revealing a large genome of 101 megabases containing 16,399 predicted genes, which included secreted protein genes representing poplar rust candidate effectors. In the present study, the genomes of 15 isolates collected over the past 20 years throughout the French territory, representing distinct virulence profiles, were characterized by massively parallel sequencing to assess genetic variation in the poplar rust fungus. Comparison to the reference genome revealed striking structural variations. Analysis of coverage and sequencing depth identified large missing regions between isolates related to the mating type loci. More than 611,824 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) positions were uncovered overall, indicating a remarkable level of polymorphism. Based on the accumulation of non-synonymous substitutions in coding sequences and the relative frequencies of synonymous and non-synonymous polymorphisms (i.e., PN/PS), we identify candidate genes that may be involved in fungal pathogenesis. Correlation between non-synonymous SNPs in genes encoding secreted proteins (SPs) and pathotypes of the studied isolates revealed candidate genes potentially related to virulences 1, 6, and 8 of the poplar rust fungus.
PMCID: PMC4164029  PMID: 25309551
effector; virulence; Pucciniales; obligate biotroph; genomics; polymorphism
2.  Genome-wide patterns of segregation and linkage disequilibrium: the construction of a linkage genetic map of the poplar rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina 
The poplar rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina causes significant yield reduction and severe economic losses in commercial poplar plantations. After several decades of breeding for qualitative resistance and subsequent breakdown of the released resistance genes, breeders now focus on quantitative resistance, perceived to be more durable. But quantitative resistance also can be challenged by an increase of aggressiveness in the pathogen. Thus, it is of primary importance to better understand the genetic architecture of aggressiveness traits. To this aim, our goal is to build a genetic linkage map for M. larici-populina in order to map quantitative trait loci related to aggressiveness. First, a large progeny of M. larici-populina was generated through selfing of the reference strain 98AG31 (which genome sequence is available) on larch plants, the alternate host of the poplar rust fungus. The progeny's meiotic origin was validated through a segregation analysis of 115 offspring with 14 polymorphic microsatellite markers, of which 12 segregated in the expected 1:2:1 Mendelian ratio. A microsatellite-based linkage disequilibrium analysis allowed us to identify one potential linkage group comprising two scaffolds. The whole genome of a subset of 47 offspring was resequenced using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 technology at a mean sequencing depth of 6X. The reads were mapped onto the reference genome of the parental strain and 144,566 SNPs were identified across the genome. Analysis of distribution and polymorphism of the SNPs along the genome led to the identification of 2580 recombination blocks. A second linkage disequilibrium analysis, using the recombination blocks as markers, allowed us to group 81 scaffolds into 23 potential linkage groups. These preliminary results showed that a high-density linkage map could be constructed by using high-quality SNPs based on low-coverage resequencing of a larger number of M. larici-populina offspring.
PMCID: PMC4159982  PMID: 25309554
fungal pathogen; linkage mapping; genome mapping; genome sequencing; Mendelian segregation; single-nucleotide polymorphism; selfing; progeny
3.  Transcriptome analysis of poplar rust telia reveals overwintering adaptation and tightly coordinated karyogamy and meiosis processes 
Most rust fungi have a complex life cycle involving up to five different spore-producing stages. The telial stage that produces melanized overwintering teliospores is one of these and plays a fundamental role for generating genetic diversity as karyogamy and meiosis occur at that stage. Despite the importance of telia for the rust life cycle, almost nothing is known about the fungal genetic programs that are activated in this overwintering structure. In the present study, the transcriptome of telia produced by the poplar rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina has been investigated using whole genome exon oligoarrays and RT-qPCR. Comparative expression profiling at the telial and uredinial stages identifies genes specifically expressed or up-regulated in telia including osmotins/thaumatin-like proteins (TLPs) and aquaporins that may reflect specific adaptation to overwintering as well numerous lytic enzymes acting on plant cell wall, reflecting extensive cell wall remodeling at that stage. The temporal dynamics of karyogamy was followed using combined RT-qPCR and DAPI-staining approaches. This reveals that fusion of nuclei and induction of karyogamy-related genes occur simultaneously between the 25 and 39 days post inoculation time frame. Transcript profiling of conserved meiosis genes indicates a preferential induction right after karyogamy and corroborates that meiosis begins prior to overwintering and is interrupted in Meiosis I (prophase I, diplonema stage) until teliospore germination in early spring.
PMCID: PMC3835972  PMID: 24312107
Melampsora larici-populina; obligate biotrophic fungus; rust lifecycle; teliospores; gene expression; microarray
4.  16S rRNA Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism for the Characterization of the Nasopharyngeal Microbiota 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52241.
A novel non-culture based 16S rRNA Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) method using the restriction enzymes Tsp509I and Hpy166II was developed for the characterization of the nasopharyngeal microbiota and validated using recently published 454 pyrosequencing data. 16S rRNA gene T-RFLP for 153 clinical nasopharyngeal samples from infants with acute otitis media (AOM) revealed 5 Tsp509I and 6 Hpy166II terminal fragments (TFs) with a prevalence of >10%. Cloning and sequencing identified all TFs with a prevalence >6% allowing a sufficient description of bacterial community changes for the most important bacterial taxa. The conjugated 7-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PCV-7) and prior antibiotic exposure had significant effects on the bacterial composition in an additive main effects and multiplicative interaction model (AMMI) in concordance with the 16S rRNA 454 pyrosequencing data. In addition, the presented T-RFLP method is able to discriminate S. pneumoniae from other members of the Mitis group of streptococci, which therefore allows the identification of one of the most important human respiratory tract pathogens. This is usually not achieved by current high throughput sequencing protocols. In conclusion, the presented 16S rRNA gene T-RFLP method is a highly robust, easy to handle and a cheap alternative to the computationally demanding next-generation sequencing analysis. In case a lot of nasopharyngeal samples have to be characterized, it is suggested to first perform 16S rRNA T-RFLP and only use next generation sequencing if the T-RFLP nasopharyngeal patterns differ or show unknown TFs.
PMCID: PMC3527403  PMID: 23284951
5.  The Poplar-Poplar Rust Interaction: Insights from Genomics and Transcriptomics 
Journal of Pathogens  2011;2011:716041.
Poplars are extensively cultivated worldwide, and their susceptibility to the leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina leads to considerable damages in plantations. Despite a good knowledge of the poplar rust life cycle, and particularly the epidemics on poplar, the perennial status of the plant host and the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of the rust fungus are bottlenecks for molecular investigations. Following the completion of both M. larici-populina and Populus trichocarpa genome sequences, gene families involved in poplar resistance or in rust fungus virulence were investigated, allowing the identification of key genetic determinants likely controlling the outcome of the interaction. Specific expansions of resistance and defense-related genes in poplar indicate probable innovations in perennial species in relation with host-pathogen interactions. The genome of M. Larici-populina contains a strikingly high number of genes encoding small secreted proteins (SSPs) representing hundreds of candidate effectors. Transcriptome analyses of interacting partners in compatible and incompatible interactions revealed conserved set of genes involved in poplar defense reactions as well as timely regulated expression of SSP transcripts during host tissues colonisation. Ongoing functional studies of selected candidate effectors will be achieved mainly on the basis of recombinant protein purification and subsequent characterisation.
PMCID: PMC3335510  PMID: 22567338
6.  Multiple Colonization with S. pneumoniae before and after Introduction of the Seven-Valent Conjugated Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11638.
Simultaneous carriage of more than one strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae promotes horizontal gene transfer events and may lead to capsule switch and acquisition of antibiotic resistance. We studied the epidemiology of cocolonization with S. pneumoniae before and after introduction of the seven-valent conjugated pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7).
Nasopharyngeal swabs (n 1120) were collected from outpatients between 2004 and 2009 within an ongoing nationwide surveillance program. Cocolonization was detected directly from swabs by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Serotypes were identified by agglutination, multiplex PCR and microarray.
Principal Findings
Rate of multiple colonization remained stable up to three years after PCV7 introduction. Cocolonization was associated with serotypes of low carriage prevalence in the prevaccine era. Pneumococcal colonization density was higher in cocolonized samples and cocolonizing strains were present in a balanced ratio (median 1.38). Other characteristics of cocolonization were a higher frequency at young age, but no association with recurrent acute otitis media, recent antibiotic exposure, day care usage and PCV7 vaccination status.
Pneumococcal cocolonization is dominated by serotypes of low carriage prevalence in the prevaccine era, which coexist in the nasopharynx. Emergence of such previously rare serotypes under vaccine selection pressure may promote cocolonization in the future.
PMCID: PMC2905437  PMID: 20661289
7.  Distribution and Expression of Elicitin Genes in the Interspecific Hybrid Oomycete Phytophthora alni▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(17):5587-5597.
Phytophthora alni subsp. alni, P. alni subsp. multiformis, and P. alni subsp. uniformis are responsible for alder disease in Europe. Class I and II elicitin gene patterns of P. alni subsp. alni, P. alni subsp. multiformis, P. alni subsp. uniformis, and the phylogenetically close species P. cambivora and P. fragariae were studied through mRNA sequencing and 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR)-specific PCRs and sequencing. The occurrence of multiple 3′UTR sequences in association with identical elicitin-encoding sequences in P. alni subsp. alni indicated duplication/recombination events. The mRNA pattern displayed by P. alni subsp. alni demonstrated that elicitin genes from all the parental genomes are actually expressed in this allopolyploid taxon. The complementary elicitin patterns resolved confirmed the possible involvement of P. alni subsp. multiformis and P. alni subsp. uniformis in the genesis of the hybrid species P. alni subsp. alni. The occurrence of multiple and common elicitin gene sequences throughout P. cambivora, P. fragariae, and P. alni sensu lato, not observed in other Phytophthora species, suggests that duplication of these genes occurred before the radiation of these species.
PMCID: PMC2042069  PMID: 17601812
8.  Hrp- Mutants of Pseudomonas solanacearum as Potential Biocontrol Agents of Tomato Bacterial Wilt 
There have been many attempts to control bacterial wilt with antagonistic bacteria or spontaneous nonpathogenic mutants of Pseudomonas solanacearum that lack the ability to colonize the host, but they have met with limited success. Since a large gene cluster (hrp) is involved in the pathogenicity of P. solanacearum, we developed a biological control strategy using genetically engineered Hrp- mutants of P. solanacearum. Three pathogenic strains collected in Guadeloupe (French West Indies) were rendered nonpathogenic by insertion of an ω-Km interposon within the hrp gene cluster of each strain. The resulting Hrp- mutants were tested for their ability to control bacterial wilt in challenge inoculation experiments conducted either under growth chamber conditions or under greenhouse conditions in Guadeloupe. Compared with the colonization by a pathogenic strain which spread throughout the tomato plant, colonization by the mutants was restricted to the roots and the lower part of the stems. The mutants did not reach the fruit. Moreover, the presence of the mutants did not affect fruit production. When the plants were challenge inoculated with a pathogenic strain, the presence of Hrp- mutants within the plants was correlated with a reduction in disease severity, although pathogenic bacteria colonized the stem tissue at a higher density than the nonpathogenic bacteria. Challenge inoculation experiments conducted under growth chamber conditions led, in some cases, to exclusion of the pathogenic strain from the aerial part of the plant, resulting in high protection rates. Furthermore, there was evidence that one of the pathogenic strains used for the challenge inoculations produced a bacteriocin that inhibited the in vitro growth of the nonpathogenic mutants.
PMCID: PMC201786  PMID: 16349373

Results 1-8 (8)