News NEWS Rotting Away: Getting at the Evolutionary Root of Wood Decay Decay is a complex process in which organisms use a reper- “When people think about white rot, they tend to toire of enzymes to slowly exploit and ultimately digest their focus on lignin, but these results show that evolution of hosts. Fungi are master decayers of dead plant matter, includ- white rot involved expansions in diverse enzymes, not just ing wood. So-called white rot fungi have the special ability to those that attack lignin,” said corresponding author Laszlo decompose the tough, recalcitrant plant polymer lignin, using Nagy. enzymes that turn solid wood into a stringy, bleached pulp. The results have shed light on the complexity of white rot Now, professor Nagy et al. (2016), in a new publication and suggest that its evolution has involved a general elabor- featured in the advanced access online version of the journal ation of the decay apparatus, including numerous enzymes Molecular Biology and Evolution, have created a bioinfor- with as-yet unknown functions to further explore. These matics tool, called COMPARE, a novel method of phylogen- enzymes and the pathways proposed to be involved in etic profiling to correlate the evolution of
Molecular Biology and Evolution – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2017
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