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Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
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BioMed Central

Break it down

Genome sequence of Podospora anserina reveals unsuspected ability to use complex carbon sources

The model fungus Podospora anserina (P. anserina) has undergone substantial evolution since its separation from Neurospora crassa, as revealed from the Podospora draft genome sequence published in BioMed Central’s open access journal, Genome Biology. The study also shows that the Podospora genome contains a large, highly specialised set of genes potentially involved in the breakdown of complex carbon sources, which may have potential use in biotechnology applications.

P. anserina is a dung-inhabiting, saprophytic fungus used to study areas of eukaryotic and fungal biology, including ageing and sexual development. Eric Espagne, Olivier Lespinet and Fabienne Malagnac from the Institute of Genetics and Microbiology in Paris and a team of researchers from France and The Netherlands used a whole genome shotgun and assembly approach to produce a 10X draft sequence of the fungus.

The researchers found evidence that P. anserina has undergone dynamic evolution since it diverged from its close relative N. crassa. They found evidence of extensive gene loss and gene shuffling, as well as substantial gene duplication. In addition, the transcription machinery of P. anserina produced a large number of RNAs that could potentially have regulatory roles. Further investigation of these non-conventional transcripts is required and could lead to the discovery of novel regulatory mechanisms, specifically during mycelium growth or accompanying the differentiation of the multicellular fructification produced during sexual reproduction.

The research team also discovered that P. anserina contains a large array of genes that may allow the fungus to use the natural carbon sources found wherever it grows. For example, the fungus carries genes potentially involved in the breakdown of the plant polymers cellulose and lignin, which may have future applications in biotechnology.

Espagne concludes: “As for other saprophytic fungi, the P. anserina genome sequence has opened new avenues in the comprehensive study of a variety of biological processes … It also demonstrates how P. anserina is well adapted at the genome level to its natural environment, which was confirmed by the analysis of growth profiles. This result emphasizes the necessity to study several less well-tracked organisms in addition to those well known in the scientific community, as these may yield unexpected new insights into biological phenomena of general interest.”

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Notes to Editors:

1. The genome sequence of the model ascomycete fungus Podospora anserina
Eric Espagne, Olivier Lespinet, Fabienne Malagnac, Corinne Da Silva, Olivier Jaillon, Betina M Porcel, Arnaud Couloux, Jean-Marc Aury, Béatrice Segurens, Julie Poulain, Véronique Anthouard, Sandrine Grossetete, Hamid Khalili, Evelyne Coppin, Michelle Déquart-Chablat, Marguerite Picard, Véronique Contamine, Sylvie Arnaise, Anne Bourdais, Véronique Berteaux-Lecellier, Daniel Gautheret, Ronald P de Vries, Evy Battaglia, Pedro M Coutinho, Etienne GJ Danchin, Bernard Henrissat, Ryiad El Khoury, Annie Sainsard-Chanet, Antoine Boivin, Bérangère Pinan-Lucarré, Carole H Sellem, Robert Debuchy, Patrick Wincker, Jean Weissenbach and Philippe Silar
Genome Biology (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://genomebiology.com/imedia/1012114496170941_article.pdf?random=362213

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://genomebiology.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Genome Biology publishes articles from the full spectrum of biology. Subjects covered include any aspect of molecular, cellular, organismal or population biology studied from a genomic perspective, as well as genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, genomic methods (including structure prediction), computational biology, sequence analysis (including large-scale and cross-genome analyses), comparative biology and evolution. Genome Biology has an impact factor of 7.12.

3. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.



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