Co-occurrence and hybridization of anther-smut pathogens specialized on Dianthus hosts

Elsa Petit, Casey Silver, Amandine Cornille, Pierre Gladieux, Lisa Rosenthal, Emily Bruns, Sarah Yee, Janis Antonovics, Tatiana Giraud, Michael E. Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Host specialization has important consequences for the diversification and ecological interactions of obligate pathogens. The anther-smut disease of natural plant populations, caused by Microbotryum fungi, has been characterized by specialized host–pathogen interactions, which contribute in part to the isolation among these numerous fungal species. This study investigated the molecular variation of Microbotryum pathogens within the geographic and host-specific distributions on wild Dianthus species in southern European Alps. In contrast to prior studies on this pathogen genus, a range of overlapping host specificities was observed for four delineated Microbotryum lineages on Dianthus hosts, and their frequent co-occurrence within single-host populations was quantified at local and regional scales. In addition to potential consequences for direct pathogen competition, the sympatry of Microbotryum lineages led to hybridization between them in many populations, and these admixed genotypes suffered significant meiotic sterility. Therefore, this investigation of the anther-smut fungi reveals how variation in the degrees of host specificity can have major implications for ecological interactions and genetic integrity of differentiated pathogen lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1877-1890
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume26
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • generalist
  • host range
  • host shift
  • introgression
  • Microbotryum violaceum
  • pathogen sympatry
  • secondary contact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

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