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Genome, Transcriptome, and Functional Analyses of Penicillium expansum Provide New Insights Into Secondary Metabolism and Pathogenicity

March 2015 , Volume 28 , Number  3
Pages  232 - 248

Ana-Rosa Ballester,1 Marina Marcet-Houben,2,3 Elena Levin,4 Noa Sela,4 Cristina Selma-Lázaro,1 Lourdes Carmona,1 Michael Wisniewski,5 Samir Droby,4 Luis González-Candelas,1 and Toni Gabaldón2,3,6

1Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA-CSIC), Avda. Agustin Escardino 7, Paterna, Valencia 46980, Spain; 2Bioinformatics and Genomics Programme. Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Dr. Aiguader, 88. 08003 Barcelona, Spain; 3Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), 08003 Barcelona, Spain; 4Department of Postharvest Science, ARO, The Volcani Center, P.O.Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; 5Appalachian Fruit Research Station, USDA-ARS, 2217 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430, U.S.A.; 6Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

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Accepted 15 October 2014.

The relationship between secondary metabolism and infection in pathogenic fungi has remained largely elusive. The genus Penicillium comprises a group of plant pathogens with varying host specificities and with the ability to produce a wide array of secondary metabolites. The genomes of three Penicillium expansum strains, the main postharvest pathogen of pome fruit, and one Pencillium italicum strain, a postharvest pathogen of citrus fruit, were sequenced and compared with 24 other fungal species. A genomic analysis of gene clusters responsible for the production of secondary metabolites was performed. Putative virulence factors in P. expansum were identified by means of a transcriptomic analysis of apple fruits during the course of infection. Despite a major genome contraction, P. expansum is the Penicillium species with the largest potential for the production of secondary metabolites. Results using knockout mutants clearly demonstrated that neither patulin nor citrinin are required by P. expansum to successfully infect apples.

Li et al. (MPMI-12-14-0398-FI) reported similar results and conclusions in their recently accepted paper.

© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society