Food for Health


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Peterson, D.; Li, T.; Calvo, A.M.; Yin, Y. Categorization of Orthologous Gene Clusters in 92 Ascomycota Genomes Reveals Functions Important for Phytopathogenicity. J. Fungi 2021, 7, 337. jof7050337




Phytopathogenic Ascomycota are responsible for substantial economic losses each year, destroying valuable crops. The present study aims to provide new insights into phytopathogenicity in Ascomycota from a comparative genomic perspective. This has been achieved by categorizing orthologous gene groups (orthogroups) from 68 phytopathogenic and 24 non-phytopathogenic Ascomycota genomes into three classes: Core, (pathogen or non-pathogen) group-specific, and genome-specific accessory orthogroups. We found that (i) ~20% orthogroups are group-specific and accessory in the 92 Ascomycota genomes, (ii) phytopathogenicity is not phylogenetically determined, (iii) group-specific orthogroups have more enriched functional terms than accessory orthogroups and this trend is particularly evident in phytopathogenic fungi, (iv) secreted proteins with signal peptides and horizontal gene transfers (HGTs) are the two functional terms that show the highest occurrence and significance in group-specific orthogroups, (v) a number of other functional terms are also identified to have higher significance and occurrence in group-specific orthogroups. Overall, our comparative genomics analysis determined positive enrichment existing between orthogroup classes and revealed a prediction of what genomic characteristics make an Ascomycete phytopathogenic. We conclude that genes shared by multiple phytopathogenic genomes are more important for phytopathogenicity than those that are unique in each genome.