Gene flow contributes to diversification of the major fungal pathogen $Candida\ albicans$

Jeanne Ropars 1, 2 Corinne Maufrais 3 Dorothée Diogo 2 Marina Marcet-Houben 4, 5 Aurélie Perin 2 Natacha Sertour 2 Kevin Mosca 2 Emmanuelle Permal 6 Guillaume Laval 7, 3 Christiane Bouchier 8, 9 Laurence Ma 8, 9 Katja Schwartz 10 Kerstin Voelz 11 Robin May 11 Julie Poulain 12, 13, 14 Christophe Battail 12 Patrick Wincker 12, 13, 14 Andrew Borman 15 Anuradha Chowdhary 16 Shangrong Fan 17 Soo Hyun Kim 18 Patrice Le Pape 19 Orazio Romeo 20, 21 Jong Hee Shin 18 Toni Gabaldon 22, 23 Gavin Sherlock 10 Marie-Elisabeth Bougnoux 24, 25 Christophe D’enfert 2, *
Abstract : Elucidating population structure and levels of genetic diversity and recombination is necessary to understand the evolution and adaptation of species. $Candida\ albicans$ is the second most frequent agent of human fungal infections worldwide, causing high-mortality rates. Here we present the genomic sequences of 182 C. $albicans$ isolates collected worldwide, including commensal isolates, as well as ones responsible for superficial and invasive infections, constituting the largest dataset to date for this major fungal pathogen. Although, C. $albicans$ shows a predominantly clonal population structure, we find evidence of gene flow between previously known and newly identified genetic clusters, supporting the occurrence of (para)sexuality in nature. A highly clonal lineage, which experimentally shows reduced fitness, has undergone pseudogenization in genes required for virulence and morphogenesis, which may explain its niche restriction. $Candida\ albicans$ thus takes advantage of both clonality and gene flow to diversify.
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Jeanne Ropars, Corinne Maufrais, Dorothée Diogo, Marina Marcet-Houben, Aurélie Perin, et al.. Gene flow contributes to diversification of the major fungal pathogen $Candida\ albicans$. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 9, pp.2253. ⟨10.1038/s41467-018-04787-4⟩. ⟨pasteur-01815656⟩

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