Comparison of complex networks and tree-based methods of phylogenetic analysis and proposal of a bootstrap method



Complex networks have been successfully applied to the characterization and modeling of complex systems in several distinct areas of Biological Sciences. Nevertheless, their utilization in phylogenetic analysis still needs to be widely tested, using different molecular data sets and taxonomic groups, and, also, by comparing complex networks approach to current methods in phylogenetic analysis. In this work, we compare all the four main methods of phylogenetic analysis (distance, maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian) with a complex networks method that has been used to provide a phylogenetic classification based on a large number of protein sequences as those related to the chitin metabolic pathway and ATP-synthase subunits. In order to perform a close comparison to these methods, we selected Basidiomycota fungi as the taxonomic group and used a high-quality, manually curated and characterized database of chitin synthase sequences. This enzymatic protein plays a key role in the synthesis of one of the exclusive features of the fungal cell wall: the presence of chitin. The communities (modules) detected by the complex network method corresponded exactly to the groups retrieved by the phylogenetic inference methods. Additionally, we propose a bootstrap method for the complex network approach. The statistical results we have obtained with this method were also close to those obtained using traditional bootstrap methods.

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Putting the Mess in Order: Aspergillus welwitschiae (and Not A. niger) Is the Etiological Agent of Sisal Bole Rot Disease in Brazil.

Approximately 75% of the worldwide production of hard natural fibers originates from sisal, an industrial crop from arid and semiarid tropical regions. Brazil is the world's largest producer of sisal fiber, accounting for more than 40% of the worldwide production, and sisal bole rot disease has been the main phytosanitary problem of this crop. All previous studies reporting Aspergillus niger as the causal agent of the disease were based on the morphological features of fungal isolates from infected plant tissues in pure cultures. Black aspergilli are one of the most complex and difficult groups to classify and identify. Therefore, we performed an integrative analysis of this disease based on the isolation of black aspergilli from the endospheres and soils in the root zones of symptomatic adult plants, in vivo pathogenicity tests, histopathology of symptomatic plants, and molecular phylogeny and worldwide genetic variability of the causal agent. All sisal isolates were pathogenic and unequivocally produced symptoms of bole rot disease in healthy plants. In all tree-based phylogenetic methods used, a monophyletic group formed by A. welwitschiae along with all sisal isolates was retrieved. Ten A. welwitschiae haplotypes have been identified in the world, and three occur in the largest sisal-producing area. Most of the isolates are from a unique haplotype, present in only the sisal-producing region. A. welwitschiae destroyed parenchymatic and vascular cylinder cells and induced the necrosis of internal stem tissues. Therefore, sisal bole disease is probably the consequence of a saprotrophic fungus that opportunistically invades sisal plants and behaves as a typical necrotrophic pathogen.



Laboratório de biologia molecular e computacional de fungos

Laboratório de Biologia Molecular e Computacional de Fungos (LBMCF) (Sala 158, Bloco J4, 4º  andar)

Gabinete Professor Dr. Aristóteles Góes Neto (Coordenador LBMCF) (Sala 53, Bloco J3, 3º  andar)

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Instituto de Ciências Biológicas (ICB), Departamento de Microbiologia (DMic)

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