Evidence for Sexual Reproduction: Identification, Frequency, and Spatial Distribution of Venturia effusa (Pecan Scab) Mating Type Idiomorphs
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Venturia effusa (syn. Fusicladium effusum), causal agent of pecan scab, is the most prevalent pathogen of pecan (Carya illinoinensis), causing severe yield losses in the southeastern United States. V. effusa is currently known only by its asexual (conidial) stage. However, the degree and distribution of genetic diversity observed within and among populations of V. effusa are typical of a sexually reproducing fungal pathogen, and comparable with other dothideomycetes with a known sexual stage, including the closely related apple scab pathogen, V. inaequalis. Using the mating type (MAT) idiomorphs from V. inaequalis, we identified a single MAT gene, MAT1-1-1, in a draft genome of V. effusa. The MAT1-1-1 locus is flanked by two conserved genes encoding a DNA lyase (APN2) and a hypothetical protein. The MAT locus spanning the flanking genes was amplified and sequenced from a subset of 14 isolates, of which 7 contained MAT1-1-1 and the remaining samples contained MAT1-2-1. A multiplex polymerase chain reaction screen was developed to amplify MAT1-1-1, MAT1-2-1, and a conserved reference gene encoding β-tubulin, and used to screen 784 monoconidial isolates of V. effusa collected from 11 populations of pecan across the southeastern United States. A hierarchical sampling protocol representing region, orchard, and tree allowed for analysis of MAT structure at different spatial scales. Analysis of this collection revealed the frequency of the MAT idiomorphs is in a 1:1 equilibrium of MAT1-1:MAT1-2. The apparent equilibrium of the MAT idiomorphs provides impetus for a renewed effort to search for the sexual stage of V. effusa. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .
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