Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genome of blue stain fungus evolved to bypass tree defense in mountain pine beetle epidemic

Date:
January 24, 2011
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
The genome of the fungus that helps mountain pine beetles infect and kill lodgepole pines has been decoded.

The genome of the fungus that helps mountain pine beetles infect and kill lodgepole pines has been decoded in a University of British Columbia study.

Also known as blue stain fungus for the stain it leaves in the wood of infected trees, Grosmannia clavigera is carried to the host trees by pine beetles and weakens the trees' natural defense system, allowing pine beetles to feed and reproduce in the tree bark. A successful beetle-fungus attack ultimately causes tree death.

Now, researchers from UBC and the BC Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Centre have conducted a detailed genome analysis and identified genes in Grosmannia clavigera that are responsible for the fungus's ability to bypass the lodgepole pine's natural fungicide -- and use it as a carbon source for fungal growth.

The study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We found that the fungus cannot only survive, but thrive when exposed to the normally fungicidal resin chemicals of pines," says co-author Joerg Bohlmann, a Distinguished University Scholar and professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. "In a way, it's like these genes give the fungus the ability to turn poison into nectar."

"Our study helps to clarify how the fungus has evolved to successfully infect lodgepole pine and gives us a better understanding of the intricate chemical interaction between the tree, beetle and fungus," says Bohlmann. "This new knowledge could inform strategies to prevent future outbreaks, such as selecting trees with improved resistance to pine beetles and their associated pathogens."

The current outbreak of mountain pine beetle has destroyed more than 16 million hectares of forest in B.C. -- roughly twice the size of New Brunswick or more than 32 million football fields. It has crossed the Rocky Mountains, and is now in the boreal pine forests, moving east. The devastation of large areas of pine forest is anticipated to have major consequences for global carbon balance and sequestration.

The study was led by Bohlmann, Colette Breuil, a professor in the UBC Department of Wood Science and Scott DiGuistini, a doctoral student in the UBC Faculty of Forestry. It is funded by Genome BC, Genome Alberta, Genome Canada, as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Forests.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Scott Diguistini, Ye Wang, Nancy Y. Liao, Greg Taylor, Philippe Tanguay, Nicolas Feau, Bernard Henrissat, Simon K. Chan, Uljana Hesse-Orce, Sepideh Massoumi Alamouti, Clement K. M. Tsui, Roderick T. Docking, Anthony Levasseur, Sajeet Haridas, Gordon Robertson, Inanc Birol, Robert A. Holt, Marco A. Marra, Richard C. Hamelin, Martin Hirst, Steven J. M. Jones, Jörg Bohlmann, and Colette Breuil. Genome and transcriptome analyses of the mountain pine beetle-fungal symbiont Grosmannia clavigera, a lodgepole pine pathogen. PNAS, January 24, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011289108

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Genome of blue stain fungus evolved to bypass tree defense in mountain pine beetle epidemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124162631.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2011, January 24). Genome of blue stain fungus evolved to bypass tree defense in mountain pine beetle epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124162631.htm
University of British Columbia. "Genome of blue stain fungus evolved to bypass tree defense in mountain pine beetle epidemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110124162631.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins