A chromosome-scale assembly of the smallest Dothideomycete genome reveals a unique genome compaction mechanism in filamentous fungi


The wide variation in the size of fungal genomes is well known, but the reasons for this size variation are less certain. Here, we present a chromosome-scale assembly of ectophytic Peltaster fructicola, a surface-dwelling extremophile, based on long-read DNA sequencing technology, to assess possible mechanisms associated with genome compaction.


At 18.99 million bases (Mb), P. fructicola possesses one of the smallest known genomes sequence among filamentous fungi. The genome is highly compact relative to other fungi, with substantial reductions in repeat content, ribosomal DNA copies, tRNA gene quantity, and intron sizes, as well as intergenic lengths and the size of gene families. Transposons take up just 0.05% of the entire genome, and no full-length transposon was found.

We concluded that reduced genome sizes in filamentous fungi such as P. fructicola, Taphrina deformans and Pneumocystis jirovecii occurred through reduction in ribosomal DNA copy number and reduced intron sizes. These dual mechanisms contrast with genome reduction in the yeast fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, whose small and compact genome is associated solely with intron loss.


Our results reveal a unique genomic compaction architecture of filamentous fungi inhabiting plant surfaces, and broaden the understanding of the mechanisms associated with compaction of fungal genomes.

Authors: Bo Wang, Xiaofei Liang, Mark L. Gleason, Tom Hsiang, Rong Zhang, Guangyu Sun