Laboratory of Phytopathology, Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen University, Binnenhaven 5, NL-6709 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands
Phospholipids are cellular membrane components in eukaryotic cells that execute many important roles in signaling. Genes encoding enzymes required for phospholipid signaling and metabolism have been characterized in several organisms, but only a few have been described for oomycetes. In this study, the genome sequences of Phytophthora sojae and P. ramorum were explored to construct a comprehensive genomewide inventory of genes involved in the most universal phospholipid signaling pathways. Several genes and gene families were annotated, including those encoding phosphatidylinositol synthase (PIS), phosphatidy-linositol (phosphate) kinase (PI[P]K), diacylglycerol kinase (DAG), and phospholipase D (PLD). The most obvious missing link is a gene encoding phospholipase C (PLC). In all eukaryotic genomes sequenced to date, PLC genes are annotated based on certain conserved features; however, these genes seem to be absent in Phytophthora spp. Analysis of the structural and regulatory domains and domain organization of the predicted isoforms of PIS, PIK, PIPK, DAG, and PLD revealed many novel features compared with characterized representatives in other eukaryotes. Examples are transmembrane proteins with a C-terminal catalytic PLD domain, secreted PLD-like proteins, and PIPKs that have an N-terminal G-protein-coupled receptor-transmembrane signature. Compared with other sequenced eukaryotes, the genus Phytophthora clearly has several exceptional features in its phospholipid-modifying enzymes.