A survey of blue-stain fungi in Northwestern Ontario and characterization of mobile introns in ribosomal DNA

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Rudski, Shelly Marie
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This work presents a survey of blue-stain fungi found in Northwestern Ontario, characterization of a homing endonuclease gene within Grosmannia piceiperda and finally an examination of the introns and homing endonuclease genes found in the large ribosomal subunit gene in species of Ceratocystis; using molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis, we studied the molecular evolution of these mobile genetic elements. The blue-stain fungi of Northwestern Ontario were identified based on phylogenic analysis of rDNA internal transcribed spacer region sequences. This data was supplemented with morphological characteristics of the fungal cultures. The second project was an examination of a LAGLIDADG homing endonuclease and its IC2 group I intron. This intron is uniquely positioned within the group I intron-encoded rps3 gene of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene. The final chapter is an investigation of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene in species of Ceratocystis. The 3’ segment of this gene contains several novel introns and homing endonuclease genes. There is also much diversity between strains despite their close relation on the rDNA internal transcribed spacer region phylogenetic tree. Further, our data also suggest that the single motif LAGLIDADG homing endonuclease of the rDNA mL1923 intron is likely to be an ancestor to other homing endonucleases in the area. The results of these studies demonstrate the role that these elements play in the genetic diversity observed in the blue-stain fungi.
group I intron, group II intron, homing endonuclease gene, LAGLIDADG, GIY-YIG, ophiostomatoid fungi, blue-stain fungi