Armillaria borealis FPL87.14 v1.0
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Armillaria borealis fruiting bodies
Armillaria borealis fruiting bodies [Photo credit: Seppo Kytöharju (used with expressed written consent); source: velutipes.com]

This genome was sequenced as part of the JGI CSP "1000 Fungal Genomes – Deep Sequencing of Ecologically-relevant Dikarya" project. Within the framework of this project, we are sequencing keystone lineages of saprophytic, mycorrhizal, and endophytic fungi that are of special ecological importance. Dozens of sequenced species were harvested from Long Term Observatories to serve as the foundation for a reference database for metagenomics of fungi and for a comprehensive survey of the soil fungal metatranscriptome.

Armillaria borealis FPL87.14

Members of the genus Armillaria belong to the Physalacriaceae, a highly diverse family in the Agaricales containing white rot wood decayers and devastating tree pathogens. They cause shoestring root rot, which leads to significant losses in forest areas or woody plants, including forests, parks or vineyards, among others, mostly in the temperate zone. The infection is usually characterized by presence of rhizomorphs and mycelial mats between the bark and cambium layer of the host root. Rhizomorphs are shoestring-like multicellular structures, which are analogous to plant roots in appearance and forage for food by spreading inside the soil. Armillaria spp. produce macroscopic fruiting bodies that are edible and known as honey mushrooms. Many existing individuals of Armillaria are believed to be the largest and oldest terrestrial organisms known on earth.

We aim to sequence the genomes of several Armillaria strains representing both aggressive pathogens and white-rot saprotrophs. This will allow us to gain insights into the evolution of pathogenicity and the mechanisms of interaction between Armillaria and their host trees. It will further help in understanding the biology of these species, including their strategies for host invasion, for wood decay, and the development of rhizomorphs and fruiting bodies. We hope these resources will open the door for developing efficient management strategies for limiting the spread and damage to forest ecosystems.

Armillaria borealis (Marxm. & Korhonen)1 is confined primarily to Europe. It is widely distributed across Southern Scandinavia, Northern France, The Netherlands and Scotland. It was also reported in China, Siberia and on mountains of Iran2,3,4. A. borealis is a opportunistic pathogen with a wide host range including coniferous as well as broadleaved trees. It seems to have pathogenic potential, but appears most often as a saprotroph towards the already weakened trees including conifers, wild cherry, and birch.

The 1KFG project is a large collaborative effort aiming for master publication(s). Please do contact the PI for 1KFG - Deep Sequencing of Ecologically-relevant Dikarya (Dr. Francis Martin) for permission prior to the use of any data in publications.

References

  1. Marxmuller H. (1982). Étude morphologique des Armillaria ss.str. à anneau. Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France. 98(1):87-124.
  2. Qin GF, Zhao J and Korhonen K. (2007). A study on intersterility groups of Armillaria in China. Mycologia 99:430-441.
  3. Pavlov IN. (2015). Biotic and abiotic factors as causes of coniferous forests dieback in Siberia and Far East. Contemp. Probl. Ecol. 8:440-456.
  4. Asef MR, Goltapeh EM and Alizadeh A. (2003). Identification of Armillaria biological species in Iran. Fungal Divers. 14:51-60.