Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



G3, 2023, 13(2), jkac312.


Open access.


Valsa is a genus of ascomycetes within the Valsaceae family. This family includes many wood destructive pathogens such as the well known Valsa mali and Valsa pyri which cause canker diseases in fruit trees and threaten the global fruit production. Lack of genomic information of this family is impeding our understandings about their evolution and genetic basis of their pathogenicity divergence. Here, we report genome assemblies of Valsa malicola, Valsa persoonii, and Valsa sordida which represent close relatives of Valsa mali and Valsa pyri with different host preferences. Comparative genomics analysis revealed that segmental rearrangements, inversions, and translocations frequently occurred among Valsa spp. genomes. Gene families that exhibited gene copy expansions tended to be associated with secondary metabolism, transmembrane transport, and pyrophosphatase activities. Orthologous genes in regions lost synteny exhibited significantly higher rate of synonymous substitution (KS) than those in regions retained synteny. Moreover, among these genes, membrane transporter families associated with antidrug (MFS, DHA) activities and nutrient transportation (SP and APCs) activities were significantly over-represented. Lineage specific synonymous substitution (KS) and nonsynonymous substitution (KA) analysis based on the phylogeny constructed from 11 fungal species identified a set of genes with selection signatures in Valsa clade and these genes were significantly enriched in functions associated with fatty acid beta-oxidation, DNA helicase activity, and ATPase activity. Furthermore, unique genes that possessed or retained by each of the five Valsa species are more likely part of the secondary metabolic (SM) gene clusters. SM gene clusters conserved across five Valsa species showed various degrees of diversification in both identity and completeness. All 11 syntenically conserved SM clusters showed differential expression during the infection of apple branch with Valsa mali suggesting involvements of secondary metabolism in the pathogenicity of Valsa species.