A unique chromatin profile defines adaptive genomic regions in a fungal plant pathogen

David E Cook, H Martin Kramer, David E Torres, Michael F Seidl, Bart P H J Thomma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Genomes store information at scales beyond the linear nucleotide sequence, which impacts genome function at the level of an individual, while influences on populations and long-term genome function remains unclear. Here, we addressed how physical and chemical DNA characteristics influence genome evolution in the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae. We identified incomplete DNA methylation of repetitive elements, associated with specific genomic compartments originally defined as Lineage-Specific (LS) regions that contain genes involved in host adaptation. Further chromatin characterization revealed associations with features such as H3 Lys-27 methylated histones (H3K27me3) and accessible DNA. Machine learning trained on chromatin data identified twice as much LS DNA as previously recognized, which was validated through orthogonal analysis, and we propose to refer to this DNA as adaptive genomic regions. Our results provide evidence that specific chromatin profiles define adaptive genomic regions, and highlight how different epigenetic factors contribute to the organization of these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62208
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


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