Evolution of nucleotide sequences and expression patterns of hydrophobin genes in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Paxillus involutus

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Abstract

Hydrophobins are small, secreted proteins that play important roles in the development of pathogenic and symbiotic fungi. Evolutionary mechanisms generating sequence and expression divergence among members in hydrophobin gene families are largely unknown.
Seven hydrophobin (hyd) genes and one hyd pseudogene were isolated from strains of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Paxillus involutus. Sequences were analysed using phylogenetic methods. Expression profiles were inferred from microarray experiments.

The hyd genes included both young (recently diverged) and old duplicates. Some young hyd genes exhibited an initial phase of enhanced sequence evolution owing to relaxed or positive selection. There was no significant association between sequence divergence and variation in expression levels. However, three hyd genes displayed a shift in the expression levels or an altered tissue specificity following duplication.

The Paxillus hyd genes evolve according to the so-called birth-and-death model in which some duplicates are maintained for a long time, whereas others are inactivated through mutations. The role of subfunctionalization and/or neofunctionalization for preserving the hyd duplicates in the genome is discussed.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • ectomycorrhiza, expression patterns, gene duplication, neofunctionalization, hydrophobin, subfunctionalization, Paxillus involutus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-411
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume174
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes