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  1. Baldauf, Sandra (Ed.)
    Abstract Improved sequencing technologies have profoundly altered global views of fungal diversity and evolution. High-throughput sequencing methods are critical for studying fungi due to the cryptic, symbiotic nature of many species, particularly those that are difficult to culture. However, the low coverage genome sequencing (LCGS) approach to phylogenomic inference has not been widely applied to fungi. Here we analyzed 171 Kickxellomycotina fungi using LCGS methods to obtain hundreds of marker genes for robust phylogenomic reconstruction. Additionally, we mined our LCGS data for a set of nine rDNA and protein coding genes to enable analyses across species for which no LCGS data were obtained. The main goals of this study were to: 1) evaluate the quality and utility of LCGS data for both phylogenetic reconstruction and functional annotation, 2) test relationships among clades of Kickxellomycotina, and 3) perform comparative functional analyses between clades to gain insight into putative trophic modes. In opposition to previous studies, our nine-gene analyses support two clades of arthropod gut dwelling species and suggest a possible single evolutionary event leading to this symbiotic lifestyle. Furthermore, we resolve the mycoparasitic Dimargaritales as the earliest diverging clade in the subphylum and find four major clades of Coemansia species. Finally,more »functional analyses illustrate clear variation in predicted carbohydrate active enzymes and secondary metabolites (SM) based on ecology, that is biotroph versus saprotroph. Saprotrophic Kickxellales broadly lack many known pectinase families compared with saprotrophic Mucoromycota and are depauperate for SM but have similar numbers of predicted chitinases as mycoparasitic.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Most of the described species in kingdom Fungi are contained in two phyla, the Ascomycota and the Basidiomycota (subkingdom Dikarya). As a result, our understanding of the biology of the kingdom is heavily influenced by traits observed in Dikarya, such as aerial spore dispersal and life cycles dominated by mitosis of haploid nuclei. We now appreciate that Fungi comprises numerous phylum-level lineages in addition to those of Dikarya, but the phylogeny and genetic characteristics of most of these lineages are poorly understood due to limited genome sampling. Here, we addressed major evolutionary trends in the non-Dikarya fungi by phylogenomic analysis of 69 newly generated draft genome sequences of the zoosporic (flagellated) lineages of true fungi. Our phylogeny indicated five lineages of zoosporic fungi and placed Blastocladiomycota, which has an alternation of haploid and diploid generations, as branching closer to the Dikarya than to the Chytridiomyceta. Our estimates of heterozygosity based on genome sequence data indicate that the zoosporic lineages plus the Zoopagomycota are frequently characterized by diploid-dominant life cycles. We mapped additional traits, such as ancestral cell-cycle regulators, cell-membrane– and cell-wall–associated genes, and the use of the amino acid selenocysteine on the phylogeny and found that these ancestral traits thatmore »are shared with Metazoa have been subject to extensive parallel loss across zoosporic lineages. Together, our results indicate a gradual transition in the genetics and cell biology of fungi from their ancestor and caution against assuming that traits measured in Dikarya are typical of other fungal lineages.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 6, 2023
  4. Abstract

    Anaerobic fungi and methanogenic archaea are two classes of microorganisms found in the rumen microbiome that metabolically interact during lignocellulose breakdown. Here, stable synthetic co-cultures of the anaerobic fungusCaecomyces churrovisand the methanogenMethanobacterium bryantii(not native to the rumen) were formed, demonstrating that microbes from different environments can be paired based on metabolic ties. Transcriptional and metabolic changes induced by methanogen co-culture were evaluated inC. churrovisacross a variety of substrates to identify mechanisms that impact biomass breakdown and sugar uptake. A high-quality genome ofC. churroviswas obtained and annotated, which is the first sequenced genome of a non-rhizoid-forming anaerobic fungus.C. churrovispossess an abundance of CAZymes and carbohydrate binding modules and, in agreement with previous studies of early-diverging fungal lineages, N6-methyldeoxyadenine (6mA) was associated with transcriptionally active genes. Co-culture with the methanogen increased overall transcription of CAZymes, carbohydrate binding modules, and dockerin domains in co-cultures grown on both lignocellulose and cellulose and caused upregulation of genes coding associated enzymatic machinery including carbohydrate binding modules in family 18 and dockerin domains across multiple growth substrates relative toC. churrovismonoculture. Two other fungal strains grown on a reed canary grass substrate in co-culture with the same methanogen also exhibited high log2-fold change values for upregulation ofmore »genes encoding carbohydrate binding modules in families 1 and 18. Transcriptional upregulation indicated that co-culture of theC. churrovisstrain with a methanogen may enhance pyruvate formate lyase (PFL) function for growth on xylan and fructose and production of bottleneck enzymes in sugar utilization pathways, further supporting the hypothesis that co-culture with a methanogen may enhance certain fungal metabolic functions. Upregulation of CBM18 may play a role in fungal–methanogen physical associations and fungal cell wall development and remodeling.

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