ISCLB 2024


TE-driven rapid adaptive evolution of the fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici against Stb16 resistance gene

Ulysse Guilloteau

on  Fr, 9:55 ! Livein  CHN C14 (conference room)for  20min

Understanding adaptive evolution in response to biotic stressors in plant pathogen remains a challenge for Agriculture and Health. Here, we study adaptive evolution of the fungal ascomycete Zymoseptoria tritici, one of the major pathogens threatening wheat yield worldwide. A recent breakdown of the wheat resistance mediated by the Stb16q gene presents an opportunity to study contemporary evolution of the pathogen’s adaptive response. A few years after its massive introduction into wheat elite varieties, this gene no longer confers resistance to an increasing number of Z. tritici isolates. This study delves into the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptation. We unveiled the genetic basis of the new Z. tritici virulence on Stb16q, by combining QTL mapping, genome-wide association studies and long read sequencing. Employing Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation, we validated the role of an effector and demonstrated that a TE insertion within the coding region of the gene otherwise recognized by the host, is the causal variant associated with high level of virulence. This work highlights the primary role of transposable elements in fungal pathogen genome evolution by playing a key part in the evolutionary arms race against plant immunity, resulting in a fitness advantage for the pathogen.

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