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  1. Gene discovery for enzymes involved in limonene modification or utilization by the mountain pine beetle-associated pathogen Grosmannia clavigera [Download]

    Title: Gene discovery for enzymes involved in limonene modification or utilization by the mountain pine beetle-associated pathogen Grosmannia clavigera
    Creator: Wang, Ye
    Description: To successfully colonize and eventually kill pine trees, Grosmannia clavigera (Gs cryptic species), the main fungal pathogen associated with the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), has developed multiple mechanisms to overcome host tree chemical defenses, of which terpenoids are a major component. In addition to a monoterpene efflux system mediated by a recently discovered ABC transporter, Gs has genes that are highly induced by monoterpenes and that encode enzymes that modify or utilize monoterpenes [especially (+)-limonene]. We showed that pine-inhabiting Ophiostomale fungi are tolerant to monoterpenes, but only a few, including Gs, are known to utilize monoterpenes as a carbon source. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) revealed that Gs can modify (+)-limonene through various oxygenation pathways, producing carvone, p-mentha-2,8-dienol, perillyl alcohol, and isopiperitenol. It can also degrade (+)-limonene through the C-1-oxygenated pathway, producing limonene-1,2-diol as the most abundant intermediate. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data indicated that Gs may utilize limonene 1,2-diol through beta-oxidation and then valine and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) metabolic pathways. The data also suggested that at least two gene clusters, located in genome contigs 108 and 161, were highly induced by monoterpenes and may be involved in monoterpene degradation processes. Further, gene knockouts indicated that limonene degradation required two distinct Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs), an epoxide hydrolase and an enoyl coenzyme A (enoyl-CoA) hydratase. Our work provides information on enzyme-mediated limonene utilization or modification and a more comprehensive understanding of the interaction between an economically important fungal pathogen and its host's defense chemicals.
    Subjects: fungal pathogen, dendroctonus-ponderosae, rhodococcus-erythropolis dcl14, range expansion, terpenes, (r)-(+)-limonene, biotransformation, ophiostoma-clavigerum, defense, boreal forest
    Date Created: 2014
  2. Population Structure of Mountain Pine Beetle Symbiont Leptographium longiclavatum and the Implication on the Multipartite Beetle-Fungi Relationships [Download]

    Title: Population Structure of Mountain Pine Beetle Symbiont Leptographium longiclavatum and the Implication on the Multipartite Beetle-Fungi Relationships
    Creator: Tsui, Clement K.
    Description: Over 18 million ha of forests have been destroyed in the past decade in Canada by the mountain pine beetle (MPB) and its fungal symbionts. Understanding their population dynamics is critical to improving modeling of beetle epidemics and providing potential clues to predict population expansion. Leptographium longiclavatum and Grosmannia clavigera are fungal symbionts of MPB that aid the beetle to colonize and kill their pine hosts. We investigated the genetic structure and demographic expansion of L. longiclavatum in populations established within the historic distribution range and in the newly colonized regions. We identified three genetic clusters/populations that coincide with independent geographic locations. The genetic profiles of the recently established populations in northern British Columbia (BC) and Alberta suggest that they originated from central and southern BC. Approximate Bayesian Computation supports the scenario that this recent expansion represents an admixture of individuals originating from BC and the Rocky Mountains. Highly significant correlations were found among genetic distance matrices of L. longiclavatum, G. clavigera, and MPB. This highlights the concordance of demographic processes in these interacting organisms sharing a highly specialized niche and supports the hypothesis of long-term multipartite beetle-fungus co-evolutionary history and mutualistic relationships.
    Subjects: Fungal genetics, Plant fungal pathogens, Population genetics, Beetles, Genetic loci, Fungal structure, Pines, Rocky Mountains
    Date Created: 2014
  3. Draft genome of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, a major forest pest [Download]

    Title: Draft genome of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, a major forest pest
    Creator: Keeling, Christopher I.
    Description: Background The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is the most serious insect pest of western North American pine forests. A recent outbreak destroyed more than 15 million hectares of pine forests, with major environmental effects on forest health, and economic effects on the forest industry. The outbreak has in part been driven by climate change, and will contribute to increased carbon emissions through decaying forests. Results We developed a genome sequence resource for the mountain pine beetle to better understand the unique aspects of this insect's biology. A draft de novo genome sequence was assembled from paired-end, short-read sequences from an individual field-collected male pupa, and scaffolded using mate-paired, short-read genomic sequences from pooled field-collected pupae, paired-end short-insert whole-transcriptome shotgun sequencing reads of mRNA from adult beetle tissues, and paired-end Sanger EST sequences from various life stages. We describe the cytochrome P450, glutathione S-transferase, and plant cell wall-degrading enzyme gene families important to the survival of the mountain pine beetle in its harsh and nutrient-poor host environment, and examine genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism variation. A horizontally transferred bacterial sucrose-6-phosphate hydrolase was evident in the genome, and its tissue-specific transcription suggests a functional role for this beetle. Conclusions Despite Coleoptera being the largest insect order with over 400,000 described species, including many agricultural and forest pest species, this is only the second genome sequence reported in Coleoptera, and will provide an important resource for the Curculionoidea and other insects.
    Subjects: conifer, bark beetles, sex chromosomes, Curculionoidea, glutathione S-transferase, Scolytinae, horizontal gene transfer, cytochrome P450, Coleoptera, plant cell wall-degrading enzymes
    Date Created: 2013
  4. Proteomics indicators of the rapidly shifting physiology from whole mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), adults during early host colonization [Download]

    Title: Proteomics indicators of the rapidly shifting physiology from whole mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), adults during early host colonization
    Creator: Pitt, Caitlin
    Description: We developed proteome profiles for host colonizing mountain pine beetle adults, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Adult insects were fed in pairs on fresh host lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud, phloem tissue. The proteomes of fed individuals were monitored using iTRAQ and compared to those of starved beetles, revealing 757 and 739 expressed proteins in females and males, respectively, for which quantitative information was obtained. Overall functional category distributions were similar for males and females, with the majority of proteins falling under carbohydrate metabolism (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, citric acid cycle), structure (cuticle, muscle, cytoskeleton), and protein and amino acid metabolism. Females had 23 proteins with levels that changed significantly with feeding (p<0.05, FDR<0.20), including chaperones and enzymes required for vitellogenesis. In males, levels of 29 proteins changed significantly with feeding (p<0.05, FDR<0.20), including chaperones as well as motor proteins. Only two proteins, both chaperones, exhibited a significant change in both females and males with feeding. Proteins with differential accumulation patterns in females exhibited higher fold changes with feeding than did those in males. This difference may be due to major and rapid physiological changes occurring in females upon finding a host tree during the physiological shift from dispersal to reproduction. The significant accumulation of chaperone proteins, a cytochrome P450, and a glutathione S-transferase, indicate secondary metabolite-induced stress physiology related to chemical detoxification during early host colonization. The females' activation of vitellogenin only after encountering a host indicates deliberate partitioning of resources and a balancing of the needs of dispersal and reproduction.
    Subjects: Chaperone proteins, Beetles, Transcriptome analysis , Pines, Proteomes, Heat shock response, Carbohydrate metabolism, Protein metabolism
    Date Created: 2014
  5. Unequal recombination and evolution of the mating-type (MAT) loci in the pathogenic fungus Grosmannia clavigera and relatives. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics [Download]

    Title: Unequal recombination and evolution of the mating-type (MAT) loci in the pathogenic fungus Grosmannia clavigera and relatives. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
    Creator: Tsui, Clement K.M.
    Description: Sexual reproduction in fungi is regulated by the mating-type (MAT) locus where recombination is suppressed. We investigated the evolution of MAT loci in eight fungal species belonging to Grosmannia and Ophiostoma (Sordariomycetes, Ascomycota) that include conifer pathogens and beetle symbionts. The MAT1-2 idiomorph/allele was identified from the assembled and annotated Grosmannia clavigera genome, and the MAT locus is flanked by genes coding for cytoskeleton protein (SLA) and DNA lyase. The synteny of these genes is conserved and consistent with other members in Ascomycota. Using sequences from SLA and flanking regions, we characterized the MAT1-1 idiomorph from other isolates of G. clavigera and performed dotplot analysis between the two idiomorphs. Unexpectedly, the MAT1-2 idiomorph contains a truncated MAT1-1-1 gene upstream of the MAT1-2-1 gene that bears the high-mobility-group domain. The nucleotide and amino acid sequence of the truncated MAT1-1-1 gene is similar to its homologous copy in the MAT1-1 idiomorph in the opposite mating-type isolate, except that positive selection is acting on the truncated gene and the alpha(α)-box that encodes the transcription factor has been deleted. The MAT idiomorphs sharing identical gene organization were present in seven additional species in the Ophiostomatales, suggesting that the presence of truncated MAT1-1-1 gene is a general pattern in this order. We propose that an ancient unequal recombination event resulted in the ancestral MAT1-1-1 gene integrated into the MAT1-2 idiomorph and surviving as the truncated MAT1-1-1 genes. The α-box domain of MAT1-1-1 gene, located at the same MAT locus adjacent to the MAT1-2-1 gene, could have been removed by deletion after recombination due to mating signal interference. Our data confirmed a 1:1 MAT/sex ratio in two pathogen populations, and showed that all members of the Ophiostomatales studied here including those that were previously deemed asexual have the potential to reproduce sexually. This ability can potentially increase genetic variability and can enhance fitness in new, ecological niches.
    Subjects: outcrossing, selfing, homothallism, mating system, evolution, heterothallism
    Date Created: 2013
  6. Functional genomics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) midguts and fat bodies [Download]

    Title: Functional genomics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) midguts and fat bodies
    Creator: Aw, Tidiane
    Description: Background The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is a significant coniferous forest pest in western North America. It relies on aggregation pheromones to colonize hosts. Its three major pheromone components, trans-verbenol, exo-brevicomin, and frontalin, are thought to arise via different metabolic pathways, but the enzymes involved have not been identified or characterized. We produced ESTs from male and female midguts and associated fat bodies and used custom oligonucleotide microarrays to study gene expression patterns and thereby made preliminary identification of pheromone-biosynthetic genes. Results Clones from two un-normalized cDNA libraries were directionally sequenced from the 5' end to yield 11,775 ESTs following sequence cleansing. The average read length was 550 nt. The ESTs clustered into 1,201 contigs and 2,833 singlets (4,034 tentative unique genes). The ESTs are broadly distributed among GO functional groups, suggesting they reflect a broad spectrum of the transcriptome. Among the most represented genes are representatives of sugar-digesting enzymes and members of an apparently Scolytid-specific gene family of unknown function. Custom NimbleGen 4-plex arrays representing the 4,034 tentative unique genes were queried with RNA from eleven different biological states representing larvae, pupae, and midguts and associated fat bodies of unfed or fed adults. Quantitative (Real-Time) RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments confirmed that the microarray data accurately reflect expression levels in the different samples. Candidate genes encoding enzymes involved in terminal steps of biosynthetic pathways for exo-brevicomin and frontalin were tentatively identified. Conclusions These EST and microarray data are the first publicly-available functional genomics resources for this devastating forestry pest.
    Subjects: insects, gene-expression, synthase, coleoptera, engraver beetle, pheromone biosynthesis, probe level, bark beetles, ips-pini, scolytidae
    Date Created: 2010
  7. Comparison of lodgepole and jack pine constitutive and induced resin chemistry: implications for range expansion by the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) [Download]

    Title: Comparison of lodgepole and jack pine constitutive and induced resin chemistry: implications for range expansion by the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
    Creator: Clark, Erin L.
    Description: The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, is a significant pest of lodgepole pine in British Columbia (BC), where it has recently reached an unprecedented outbreak level. Although it is native to western North America, the beetle can now be viewed as a native invasive because for the first time in recorded history it has begun to reproduce in native jack pine stands within the North American boreal forest. The ability of jack pine trees to defend themselves against mass attack and their suitability for brood success will play a major role in the success of this insect in a putatively new geographic range and host. Lodgepole and jack pine were sampled along a transect extending from the beetle’s historic range (central BC) to the newly invaded area east of the Rocky Mountains in north-central Alberta (AB) in Canada for constitutive phloem resin terpene levels. In addition, two populations of lodgepole pine (BC) and one population of jack pine (AB) were sampled for levels of induced phloem terpenes. Phloem resin terpenes were identified and quantified using gas chromatography. Significant differences were found in constitutive levels of terpenes between the two species of pine. Constitutive α-pinene levels – a precursor in the biosynthesis of components of the aggregation and antiaggregation pheromones of mountain pine beetle – were significantly higher in jack pine. However, lower constitutive levels of compounds known to be toxic to bark beetles, e.g., 3-carene, in jack pine suggests that this species could be poorly defended. Differences in wounding-induced responses for phloem accumulation of five major terpenes were found between the two populations of lodgepole pine and between lodgepole and jack pine. The mountain pine beetle will face a different constitutive and induced phloem resin terpene environment when locating and colonizing jack pine in its new geographic range, and this may play a significant role in the ability of the insect to persist in this new host.
    Subjects: Terpenes, Plant defense, Scolytinae, Curculionidae, Coleoptera, Bark beetles, Secondary metabolites
    Date Created: 2014
  8. A common fungal associate of the spruce bark beetle metabolizes the stilbene defenses of Norway spruce [Download]

    Title: A common fungal associate of the spruce bark beetle metabolizes the stilbene defenses of Norway spruce
    Creator: Hammerbacher, Almuth
    Description: Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests suffer periodic fatal attacks by the bark beetle Ips typographus and its fungal associate, Ceratocystis polonica. Norway spruce protects itself against fungal and bark beetle invasion by the production of terpenoid resins, but it is unclear whether resins or other defenses are effective against the fungus. We investigated stilbenes, a group of phenolic compounds found in Norway spruce bark with a diaryl-ethene skeleton with known antifungal properties. During C. polonica infection, stilbene biosynthesis was up-regulated, as evidenced by elevated transcript levels of stilbene synthase genes. However, stilbene concentrations actually declined during infection, and this was due to fungal metabolism. C. polonica converted stilbenes to ring-opened, deglycosylated, and dimeric products. Chromatographic separation of C. polonica protein extracts confirmed that these metabolites arose from specific fungal enzyme activities. Comparison of C. polonica strains showed that rapid conversion of host phenolics is associated with higher virulence. C. polonica is so well adapted to its host’s chemical defenses that it is even able to use host phenolic compounds as its sole carbon source.
    Subjects: resveratrol, phenolics, grosmannia-clavigera, biological-activity, induced responses, phytoalexins, pathogen, phloem parenchyma cells, botrytis-cinerea conidia, picea-abies
    Date Created: 2013
  9. Genes, enzymes, and chemicals of terpenoid diversity in the constitutive and induced defence of conifers against insects and pathogens [Download]

    Title: Genes, enzymes, and chemicals of terpenoid diversity in the constitutive and induced defence of conifers against insects and pathogens
    Creator: Keeling, Christopher I.
    Description: Insects select their hosts, but trees cannot select which herbivores will feed upon them. Thus, as long-lived stationary organisms, conifers must resist the onslaught of varying and multiple attackers over their lifetime. Arguably, the greatest threats to conifers are herbivorous insects and their associated pathogens. Insects such as bark beetles, stem- and wood-boring insects, shoot-feeding weevils, and foliage-feeding budworms and sawflies are among the most devastating pests of conifer forests. Conifer trees produce a great diversity of compounds, such as an enormous array of terpenoids and phenolics, that may impart resistance to a variety of herbivores and microorganisms. Insects have evolved to specialize in resistance to these chemicals – choosing, feeding upon, and colonizing hosts they perceive to be best suited to reproduction. This review focuses on the plant–insect interactions mediated by conifer-produced terpenoids. To understand the role of terpenoids in conifer–insect interactions, we must understand how conifers produce the wide diversity of terpenoids, as well as understand how these specific compounds affect insect behaviour and physiology. This review examines what chemicals are produced, the genes and proteins involved in their biosynthesis, how they work, and how they are regulated. It also examines how insects and their associated pathogens interact with, elicit, and are affected by conifer-produced terpenoids.
    Subjects: resin, terpenes, plant–insect interactions, terpenoid synthase, cytochrome P450
    Date Created: 2006
  10. Characterizing the physical and genetic structure of the lodgepole pine × jack pine hybrid zone: mosaic structure and differential introgression [Download]

    Title: Characterizing the physical and genetic structure of the lodgepole pine × jack pine hybrid zone: mosaic structure and differential introgression
    Creator: Cullingham,Catherine I.
    Description: Understanding the physical and genetic structure of hybrid zones can illuminate factors affecting their formation and stability. In north-central Alberta, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb) form a complex and poorly defined hybrid zone. Better knowledge of this zone is relevant, given the recent host expansion of mountain pine beetle into jack pine. We characterized the zone by genotyping 1998 lodgepole, jack pine, and hybrids from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Minnesota at 11 microsatellites. Using Bayesian algorithms, we calculated genetic ancestry and used this to model the relationship between species occurrence and environment. In addition, we analyzed the ancestry of hybrids to calculate the genetic contribution of lodgepole and jack pine. Finally, we measured the amount of gene flow between the pure species. We found the distribution of the pine classes is explained by environmental variables, and these distributions differ from classic distribution maps. Hybrid ancestry was biased toward lodgepole pine; however, gene flow between the two species was equal. The results of this study suggest that the hybrid zone is complex and influenced by environmental constraints. As a result of this analysis, range limits should be redefined.
    Subjects: jack pine, hybridization, lodgepole pine, environmental modeling, Pinus contorta, Pinus banksiana
    Date Created: 2012