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Distinctive characters of Nostoc genomes in cyanolichens

Distinctive characters of Nostoc genomes in cyanolichens

Title: Distinctive characters of Nostoc genomes in cyanolichens
Author: Gagunashvili, Andrey   orcid.org/0000-0003-4012-0886
Andrésson, Ólafur   orcid.org/0000-0002-8451-5671
Date: 2018-06-05
Language: English
Scope: 434
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Líf- og umhverfisvísindadeild (HÍ)
Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences (UI)
Series: BMC Genomics;19(1)
ISSN: 1471-2164
DOI: 10.1186/s12864-018-4743-5
Subject: Cyanobacteria; Nostoc; Lichen; Symbiosis; Symbiotic competence; Gerlar; Samlífi; Fléttur (plöntur)
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/924

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Gagunashvili, A. N., & Andrésson, Ó. S. (2018). Distinctive characters of Nostoc genomes in cyanolichens. BMC Genomics, 19(1), 434. doi:10.1186/s12864-018-4743-5


Background Cyanobacteria of the genus Nostoc are capable of forming symbioses with a wide range of organism, including a diverse assemblage of cyanolichens. Only certain lineages of Nostoc appear to be able to form a close, stable symbiosis, raising the question whether symbiotic competence is determined by specific sets of genes and functionalities. Results We present the complete genome sequencing, annotation and analysis of two lichen Nostoc strains. Comparison with other Nostoc genomes allowed identification of genes potentially involved in symbioses with a broad range of partners including lichen mycobionts. The presence of additional genes necessary for symbiotic competence is likely reflected in larger genome sizes of symbiotic Nostoc strains. Some of the identified genes are presumably involved in the initial recognition and establishment of the symbiotic association, while others may confer advantage to cyanobionts during cohabitation with a mycobiont in the lichen symbiosis. Conclusions Our study presents the first genome sequencing and genome-scale analysis of lichen-associated Nostoc strains. These data provide insight into the molecular nature of the cyanolichen symbiosis and pinpoint candidate genes for further studies aimed at deciphering the genetic mechanisms behind the symbiotic competence of Nostoc. Since many phylogenetic studies have shown that Nostoc is a polyphyletic group that includes several lineages, this work also provides an improved molecular basis for demarcation of a Nostoc clade with symbiotic competence.


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