Oomycete metabolism is highly dynamic and reflects lifestyle adaptations

Rodenburg, Y.A.; Ridder, D. de; Govers, F.; Seidl, M.F.


Pathogen-host symbiosis drives metabolic adaptations. Animal and plant pathogenic oomycetes are thought to adapt their metabolism to facilitate interactions with their hosts. Here, we performed a large-scale comparison of oomycete metabolism and uncovered considerable variation in oomycete metabolism that could be linked to differences in lifestyle. Pathway comparisons revealed that plant pathogenic oomycetes can be divided in two parts; a conserved part and an accessory part. The accessory part could be associated with the degradation of plant compounds produced during defence responses. Obligate biotrophic oomycetes have smaller metabolic networks, and this group displays converged evolution by repeated gene losses affecting the same metabolic pathways. A comparison of the metabolic networks of obligate biotrophic oomycetes with those of plant pathogenic oomycetes as a whole revealed that the losses of metabolic enzymes in biotrophs are not random and that the network of biotrophs contracts from the periphery inwards. Our analyses represent the first metabolism-focused comparison of oomycetes at this scale and will contribute to a better understanding of the evolution and relationship between metabolism and lifestyle adaptation.