We are proud to launch this second volume of the Research Topic The Significance of Mitogenomics in Mycology
Eukaryotic organisms, including fungi, usually contain mitochondria as main organelles responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP, the principal energy molecule of the cell. Besides energy production, fungal mitochondria play an important role in other essential cellular functions such as apoptosis, senescence, quiescence, assembly of iron-sulfur clusters, biofilm regulation and hyphal growth. They may also be involved in antifungal drug resistance, as well as in fungal virulence and pathogenicity. Active mitochondria continuously undergo fusion and fission forming a dynamic mitochondrial network in the cell and contain multiple copies of the mitochondrial genome or mitogenome.
The mitogenome can show different evolutionary trajectories than the nuclear genome, as mitogenome inheritance is uniparental in sexual crosses, while in fungi recombination after hyphal fusions may be possible. Understanding mitogenomes, how they evolve, which genes are essential for survival and how successful adaptation of fungi to changing demands of the environment will influence mycology, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology and industry.
In addition, mitogenomes are expected to provide new insights for understanding the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary biology of fungi. Given the rapidly growing interest in the field of fungal mitogenomics, several recent studies have investigated the diversity of the mitogenomes of fungi from various genera. The relatively small size and high copy numbers of fungal mitogenomes allows for their robust study as an entity, especially with massively parallel sequencing platforms. Characterization of complete mitogenomes from different fungal species shows broad evolutionary changes in genome organization and architecture.
Fungal mitogenomes show high variations in size (ranging from 12 kb to > 230 kb), gene order and composition, presence of pseudogenes and tandem repeats and introns. In addition, some fungal mitogenomes contain mobile elements which may move laterally within populations and even species. These elements appear to be a major contributor to mitogenomic variation in many filamentous fungi and yeasts. Extensive mitogenome variation appears to be promising in population genetic studies of fungi, as recently demonstrated in budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Besides, the multi-copy nature of mitogenomes facilitate the development of highly sensitive markers, especially for improved detection of fungal pathogens causing diseases on different crops as well as opportunistic human and animal pathogens. Despite the explosion of information in the field of genomics, fungal mitogenomes are still poorly sampled, thus meriting further investigation.
This Research Topic will form a collection of articles including Original Research and Review articles that will contribute significantly to the progression of fungal mitogenome science. Including:
• Antifungal susceptibility and resistance
• Virulence and pathogenicity
• Molecular epidemiology
• Population genetic studies
• Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary biology of fungi
• Molecular diagnostics
We also look for papers that provide novel pipelines/tools for rapid fungal mitogenome annotations. We do not seek purely descriptive research, which does not address a specific hypothesis or problem.