Background: Mycorrhizal symbiosis is one of the most fundamental types of mutualistic plant-microbe interaction. Among the many classes of mycorrhizae, the arbuscular mycorrhizae have the most general symbiotic style and the longest history. However, the genomes of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are not well characterized due to difficulties in cultivation and genetic analysis. In this study, we sequenced the genome of the AM fungus Rhizophagus clarus HR1, compared the sequence with the genome sequence of the model species R. irregularis, and checked for missing genes that encode enzymes in metabolic pathways related to their obligate biotrophy. Results: In the genome of R. clarus, we confirmed the absence of cytosolic fatty acid synthase (FAS), whereas all mitochondrial FAS components were present. A KEGG pathway map identified the absence of genes encoding enzymes for several other metabolic pathways in the two AM fungi, including thiamine biosynthesis and the conversion of vitamin B6 derivatives. We also found that a large proportion of the genes encoding glucose-producing polysaccharide hydrolases, that are present even in ectomycorrhizal fungi, also appear to be absent in AM fungi. Conclusions: In this study, we found several new genes that are absent from the genomes of AM fungi in addition to the genes previously identified as missing. Missing genes for enzymes in primary metabolic pathways imply that AM fungi may have a higher dependency on host plants than other biotrophic fungi. These missing metabolic pathways provide a genetic basis to explore the physiological characteristics and auxotrophy of AM fungi.
ASJC Scopus subject areas