The Phytophthora sojae Genome Sequence: Foundation for a Revolution.

Tyler, B.M. and Gijzen, M. (2014). "The Phytophthora sojae Genome Sequence: Foundation for a Revolution.", in Ralph A. Dean, Ann Lichens-Park, Chittaranjan Kole (eds.) - Genomics of Plant-Associated Fungi and Oomycetes: Dicot Pathogens, Springer, Chapter 7, pp. 133-157.


Phytophthora sojae is a soil-borne microorganism and a plant pathogen that causes stem and root rot of soybean. P. sojae is one of the ~120 species of plant pathogenic eukaryotes within the genus Phytophthora. These organisms are oomycetes, fungus-like organisms in the kingdom Stramenopila. Together with members of related genera such as Pythium, Peronospora, and Albugo, these organisms cause highly destructive diseases of plants of importance to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and natural ecosystems. The draft genome sequence of P. sojae, together with that of the forest pathogen P. ramorum, was completed in 2004 and published in 2006. These were the first oomycete genomes sequenced, and have provided a resource of information that has revolutionized our understanding of oomycete infection mechanisms, and propelled oomycete research to the forefront of studies of molecular plant-microbe interactions. Highlights of insights that have emerged from the genome sequence of P. sojae and other oomycetes include: a bipartite genome organization whereby rapidly evolving genes involved in infection are located in dynamic, transposon-rich regions while highly conserved housekeeping genes are located in stable gene-rich regions; two classes of effector proteins that can cross into the cytoplasm of host plant cells to suppress immunity; the role of epigenetic variation in oomycete pathogen adaptation; and the role of transkingdom horizontal gene transfer in introducing key virulence factors into the genomes of plant pathogenic oomycetes.

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