1887

Abstract

Chitinases are involved in multiple aspects of fungal life cycle, such as cell wall remodelling, chitin degradation and mycoparasitism lifestyle. To improve our knowledge of the chitinase molecular evolution of Ascomycota, the gene family of 72 representatives of this phylum was identified and subjected to phylogenetic, evolution trajectory and selective pressure analyses. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the chitinase gene family size and enzyme types varied significantly, along with species evolution, especially for groups B and C. In addition, two new subgroups, C3 and C4, are recognized in group C chitinases. Random birth and death testing indicated that gene expansion and contraction occurred in most of the taxa, particularly for species in the order Hypocreales (class Sordariomycetes). From an enzyme function point of view, we speculate that group A chitinases are mainly involved in species growth and development, while the expansion of genes in group B chitinases is related to fungal mycoparasitic and entomopathogenic abilities, and, to a certain extent, the expansion of genes in group C chitinases seems to be correlated with the host range broadening of some plant-pathogenic fungi in Sordariomycetes. Further selection pressure testing revealed that chitinases and the related amino acid sites were under positive selection in the evolutionary history, especially at the nodes sharing common ancestors and the terminal branches of Hypocreales. These results give a reasonable explanation for the size and function differences of chitinase genes among ascomycetes, and provide a scientific basis for understanding the evolutionary trajectories of chitinases, particularly that towards a mycoparasitic lifestyle.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • national natural science foundation of china (Award 62002051)
    • Principle Award Recipient: ChaoWang
  • national natural science foundation of china (Award 31570018, 31870012)
    • Principle Award Recipient: Wen-YingZhuang
  • national basic research program of china (973 program) (Award 2017YFD0200600)
    • Principle Award Recipient: Wen-YingZhuang
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2021-09-13
2021-12-02
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