Fungal Symposium 2019

Lecture Hall (MPI for Evolutionary Biology)

Lecture Hall

MPI for Evolutionary Biology


Fungal taxonomic and ecological diversities make the fungal kingdom an ideal group in which to study both ecological interactions and evolutionary processes, and researchers study a wide variety of evolutionary model systems in the fungal kingdom. With the 2019 Fungal Evolution Symposium, we aim to cover this breadth of diversity and expose the community inside and outside of Plön to research bringing fungal evolution and ecology together. We intend to include presentations on relationships between fungal populations and geographic space, the evolution of biotic interactions between fungal symbionts and hosts, the evolution of fungal genomes in response to environmental changes, interactions between biotic and abiotic selection pressures on fungal populations and a variety of other topics in fungal ecology and evolution. Participants will benefit from formal talks and informal conversations with international fungal evolution researchers.

Confirmed speakers are: Marcel Bucher, Dominik Begerow, Dimitrios Floudas, Gert Kema, Diego Libkind, Alistair Mc Taggart, Brenda Wingfield and Alga Zuccaro.

Scientific organizers: Primrose Boynton & Lizel Potgieter, MPI for Evolutionary Biology

  • Alga Zuccaro
  • Alistair McTaggart
  • Andreas Hansen
  • Angelina Ceballos-Escalera
  • Ben Claassen
  • Brenda Wingfield
  • Cécile Lorrain
  • Desirre Petters-Vandresen
  • Dimitrios Floudas
  • Dominik Begerow
  • Ece SILAN
  • Eva Stukenbrock
  • Gert Kema
  • Gözde Yıldız
  • Janine Haueisen
  • Johannes Effe
  • Jovan Komluski
  • Julien Dutheil
  • Krisztina Kollath-Leiss
  • Lizel Potgieter
  • Marcel Bucher
  • Michael Habig
  • Muhammed Raşit DURAK
  • Primrose Boynton
  • Rahul Govindan Unni
  • Ronja Hippchen
  • Tjorven Krause
  • Wagner Fagundes
    • 14:00 14:30
      Check-In and poster set up 30m
    • 14:30 14:40
      Opening 10m
      Speakers: Lizel Potgieter, Primrose Boynton
    • 14:40 16:30
      Session 1: Fungi in changing environments
      • 14:40
        Rated R: Reproduction in rust fungi 50m
        Speaker: Alistair McTaggart
      • 15:30
        Analyzing the effects of killer virus infection on host fitness in a wild population of Saccharomyces paradoxus 20m
        Speaker: Rahul Unni
      • 15:50
        An overview on Monilinia pathogens the causal agent of brown rot disease of peach considering the pathogen populations from Turkey 20m
        Speaker: Hilal Özkilinç
      • 16:10
        Natural yeast populations are stable through environmental changes 20m
        Speaker: Primrose Boynton
    • 16:30 18:00
      Poster Session: Poster session 1
      • 16:30

        Mt-GENOME WIDE G-QUADRUPLEX PREDICTION OF FOUR DIFFERENT PHYTOPATHOGENIC FUNGI Kubra ARSLAN, Muhammed Rasit DURAK, Hilal OZKILINC Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Art and Sciences, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Canakkale: Corresponding Author: Four stranded non-canonical structures called G-quadruplexes have been correlated with various biological processes including transcription, DNA replication, DNA repair, recombination and telomer maintanence. It has been shown that the localization of the G-quadruplexes (G4) are not random; G4s co-localize with functional regions and highly conserved between different species. Knowledge on the G4s in phytopathogenic fungi and in mitochondrial genome is scant and studies on G4 may help us understand the biological processes better. In this study G4s on the mt-genome of four economically significant phytopathogenic fungi Monilinia fructicola (MK163638), Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (NC_035155.1), Zymoseptoria tritici (NC_010222.1) and Fusarium oxysporum (NC_017930.1) have been mapped and investigated. Overall the results have shown that the locations and abundance of the G4s are highly variable between different species of phytopathogenic fungi. Number of G4s were higher in M. fructicola and the lowest number of G4 was found in Z. tritici. Importance and roles of G4s will be discusssed in view of their structural and functional importance. Key Words: G-QUADRUPLEX, mitochondrial genome

        Speaker: Muhammed Raşit Durak
      • 16:35
        Comparative analyses of compatible and incompatible host-pathogen interactions provide insight into host specialization of closely related pathogens 5m

        Emerging pathogens need to adapt swiftly to exploit new hosts for growth and reproduction. Host shifts can be facilitated by adaptive changes in gene expression landscapes. In order to identify transcriptional patterns related to divergent host specialization in specialized fungal plant pathogens, we compared the development and expression profiles of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici and two closely related species Z. pseudotritici and Z. ardabiliae during infection of wheat. Infections by Z. pseudotritici and Z. ardabiliae are incompatible: hyphae penetrate wheat stomata but are blocked in substomatal cavities involving plant defense responses. In contrast, Z. tritici can overcome host defenses to complete its lifecycle in wheat. Nevertheless, the three species show a highly similar developmental program during early host interaction. Gene expression programs are likewise conserved as only 6.5 % of orthologous genes are differentially expressed between Z. tritici and the sister species. This indicates that wheat specialization is facilitated by a small number of key traits. We focused on ten differentially expressed candidate effectors and studied their role in wheat infections using Z. tritici mutants. The observed in planta phenotypes cover reduced and increased virulence and changes in temporal disease development indicating that the contribution of these effectors to wheat adaptation is complex and dynamic since speciation of Z. tritici 11,000 years ago.

        Speaker: Janine Haueisen
      • 16:40
        Auxin biosynthesis of the ascomycete Neurospora crassa in the context of plant-fungus interaction 5m

        Auxin biosynthesis of the ascomycete Neurospora crassa in the context of plant-fungus interaction Production of the plant phytohormone auxin has been reported in several phytopathogenic fungi (Jameson, 2000; Tsavkelova et al., 2012). In those cases, auxin is considered a regulator of the plant-fungus interaction. Surprisingly, several non- phytopathogenic fungi are also able to produce auxin (Kollath-Leiß, Bönniger, Sardar, & Kempken, 2014), however, reportedly only in tryptophan-supplemented media (Gruen, 1959). Our investigations are focused on the auxin biosynthesis in the ascomycete Neurospora crassa. We discovered the biosynthetic network with several interdependent pathways (Sardar & Kempken, 2018). Phenotypical analyzes of an auxin-deficient mutant strain led to the conclusion, that auxin does play a physiological role in the fungus and influences its, both sexual and asexual, development. We investigated the interaction of N. crassa with diverse plant species and found, that the new model plant organism Brachipodium dystachion tends to interact with the fungus. Moreover, we found evidence for a possible influence of the plant on the fungal auxin metabolism. Our data indicate the double-role of auxin as a fungal growth regulatory hormone and as a signal molecule in plant-fungus communication. Gruen, E. H. (1959). Auxin and fungi. Annual Review of Plant Physiology, 10, 405–440. Jameson, P. E. (2000). Cytokinins and auxins in plant pathogen interactions-an overview. Plant Growth Regul., 32, 747-761. Kollath-Leiß, K., Bönniger, C., Sardar, P., & Kempken, F. (2014). BEM46 shows eisosomal localization and association with tryptophan-derived auxin pathway in Neurospora crassa. Eukaryotic Cell, 13(8), 1051–1063. Sardar, P., & Kempken, F. (2018). Characterization of indole-3-pyruvic acid pathway mediated biosynthesis of auxin in Neurospora crassa. PLOS ONE. Tsavkelova, E., Oeser, B., Oren-Young, L., Israeli, M., Sasson, Y., Tudzynski, B., & Sharon, A. (2012). Identification and functional characterization of indole-3-acetamide-mediated IAA biosynthesis in plant-associated Fusarium species. Fungal Genetics and Biology : FG & B, 49(1), 48–57.

        Speaker: Krisztina Kollath-Leiss
      • 16:45
        Investigating the auxin biosynthesis pathway of Neurospora crassa using the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system 5m

        In contrast to the situation in plants, the role auxin, especially indole-3 acetic acid (IAA), plays in fungi remains mostly unclear. The evolutionary context, under which the auxin synthesis pathway in non-plant associated fungi was retained, is thus not completely resolved, though evidence indicates a role in intercellular and interspecies communication, with a putative impact on the ecology of multispecies biocoenosis. It could be moreover shown that the ascomycete Neurospora crassa possesses several genes homologue to those involved in the auxin biosynthesis of green plants (Kollath-Leiß, Bönniger, Sardar, Kempken 2014) and that the synthesis of IAA has a great impact on the germination of spores and the formation of hyphae, resembling the function auxin displays in plants (Sardar and Kempken 2018). The goal of my study is to confirm the striking impact the double knock-out ∆cbs-3∆ahd-2 has on the overall IAA production by complementation and furthermore create an auxin null-mutant by usage of the genome editing system CRISPR/Cas9. Hereby, a concept is utilized in which a ribonucleoprotein complex is transfected, instead of introducing a plasmid encoding for the CRISPR/Cas9 components, a method hitherto not established in fungi. Additionally, a striking delay in the formation and maturation of perithecia and ascospores was observed, indicating an additional suspenseful role of IAA in N. crassa.

        Speaker: Tjorven Krause
      • 16:50
        Recent host tracking of the fungal pathogen Cercospora beticola during domestication of sugar beet, Beta vulgaris 5m

        Lizel Potgieter 1,2, Alice Feurtey1,2, Ronnie de Jonge3, Mark Varrelmann4, Mark McMullan5, Melvin Bolton6, Eva H. Stukenbrock 1,2 1. Environmental Genomics, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany 2. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany 3. Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands 4. Institut für Zuckerrübenforschung an der Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany 5. The Earlham Institute, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK 6. Northern Crop Science Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Fargo, ND, United States Cercospora beticola is a fungal pathogen of sugar beet that causes the disease Cercospora Leaf Spot (CLS). Sugar beet is a relatively modern crop with a well documented domestication history in Central Europe. The ancestor of sugar beet is the wild beet species Beta vulgaris spp. maritima which can also be infected by C. beticola. Cultivated and wild beet species provide an excellent model system to study the effect of host domestication on pathogen evolution due to the recent domestication, and host range expansion of sugar beet. We collected isolates from C. beticola from wild and cultivated beet from several sites in Europe and the US. Sequencing the 37Mb haploid genomes of 150 isolates allowed us to identify population differentiation of pathogens on wild and cultivated host species suggesting divergent host specialization. Over all, the genomes of the C. beticola populations on the two distinct hosts harbour similar amounts of genetic variation, and are likely closely related. Nevertheless, the genomes of C. beticola also bear signatures of recurrent gene flow. We have identified regions that exhibit a higher extent of sequence divergence between C. beticola populations isolated from the wild and cultivated hosts. These regions include genes that may evolve under divergent selection during recent adaptation to the distinct hosts. Results from this study are beginning to shed light on the evolution of C. beticola associated with geographic domestication, beet breeding, and monoculture host populations.

        Speaker: Lizel Potgieter
    • 18:00 20:00
      Dinner 2h
    • 08:45 10:45
      Session 3: Fungal life cycles and development
      • 08:45
        Disentangling metabolic- and defense-control of cell death in plant root-fungal interactions 50m
        Speaker: Alga Zuccaro
      • 09:35
        Mating Type Assays of Monilinia Pathogens in Turkey 20m
        Speaker: Ece Silan
      • 09:55
        Unravelling the genetic mechanisms of unisexual reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 50m
        Speaker: Brenda Wingfield
    • 10:45 12:30
    • 12:30 14:00
      Lunch Break 1h 30m
    • 14:00 17:30
      Session 2: Genomics, genetics, and the secrets of Fungal evolution
      • 14:00
        Diversity of smut fungi – from taxonomy to evolution 50m
        Speaker: Dominik Begerow
      • 14:50
        Population genomics of the maize pathogen Ustilago maydis 20m
        Speaker: Julien Dutheil
      • 15:10
        Connecting genomic signatures, nutritional strategies and function in mushroom forming fungi 50m
        Speaker: Dimitrios Floudas
      • 16:00
        Coffee 20m
      • 16:20
        Histone modifications affect the mutation rate in a plant pathogenic fungus 20m
        Speaker: Michael Habig
      • 16:40
        Panama disease strikes global banana production, again 50m

        Banana is a major staple food, a primary fruit crop in many domestic markets and a commodity supplying global retail stores. However, global inputs in research and development are minimal and the number of banana improvement programs is negligible compared to other crops. To complicate matters, many issues in banana production are complex and require multidisciplinary approaches. Traditionally, the sector is inclined to short-term actions and solutions. Hence, there is a threshold to develop and accept long-term strategies for sustainable and fair global production. Therefore, banana production is one of the remaining global monocultures. This comes with a risk and the sector suffers from immense threats, including plant diseases. Panama disease or Fusarium wilt is one of them and represents a key problem that requires short-term action and long-term strategies grounded in scientific data. Initially, we largely focused on projects revolving around genome analyses, genetic diversity and plasticity of the causal agents, a suite of Fusarium spp.. We built a large global collection of Fusarium strains, including approximately 200 isolates form the center of origin, the Indonesian archipelago, and characterized them through genotyping-by-sequencing technologies as well as phenotyping assays. Later, we screened hundreds of banana accessions with so-called Fusarium race 1 and tropical race 4 (TR4) strains that caused the previous and the current Panama disease epidemic in Gros Michel and Cavendish bananas. Furthermore, we completed genetic mapping studies to identify genes for resistance in wild banana germplasm. Short-term research focused on the epidemiology of TR4, which included the development of technologies to rapidly diagnose TR4 and also investigated the survival in its natural habitat and under different management practices. Together, these data call for action to support a fragile industry that provides food, fruit and employment to millions of people.

        Speaker: Gert Kema
    • 17:30 19:00
      Walk around the lake Schöhsee 1h 30m
    • 19:00 20:30
      Dinner 1h 30m
    • 09:00 10:30
      Session 4: Fungi and their diverse hosts
      • 09:00
        Control of bidirectional nutrient transfer in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis 50m
        Speaker: Marcel Bucher
      • 09:50
        Tracking the associations of tree-pathogenic fungi and Scolytinae beetles across the United Kingdom 20m
        Speaker: Angelina Ceballos-Escalera
      • 10:10
        Fatal attraction: Investigating housefly attraction towards conspecifics killed by the insect pathogenic fungus, Entomophthora muscae 20m

        The insect-pathogenic fungus, Entomophthora muscae, is a host-specific pathogen that infects and kills houseflies
        (Musca domestica). Curiously, E. muscae induces behavioral changes in infected individuals before host
        death. The flies are manipulated to seek an elevated position, spread their wings in an up-right position and
        protrude their abdomen. Within hours, fungal sporulation begins. The fungus actively discharges the infective
        conidia, which must reach new individuals to continue the infection cycle. Furthermore, previous studies has
        shown an increase in attraction from healthy, uninfected males towards dead, sporulating female cadavers
        compared to uninfected female cadavers. Our work is investigating this attraction and attempts to determine
        whether such host manipulation is caused by visual- or olfactory cues. During this talk, results from behavioral
        studies and analyses of housefly surface compounds (GC-MS) will be presented and discussed in relation
        to this increase in attraction. Our preliminary behavioral studies support an increase in attraction towards infected
        cadavers, as well as the infective conidia alone. Our chemical analyses show distinct alterations in the
        profile of insect surface compounds caused by fungal infection.

        Speaker: Andreas Hansen
    • 10:30 10:50
      Closing 20m
      Speakers: Lizel Potgieter, Primrose Boynton