Comparative analysis of sterol acquisition in the oomycetes Saprolegnia parasitica and Phytophthora infestans

Paul Dahlin, Vaibhav Srivastava, Sophia Ekengren, Lauren S. McKee, Vincent Bulone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


The oomycete class includes pathogens of animals and plants which are responsible for some of the most significant global losses in agriculture and aquaculture. There is a need to replace traditional chemical means of controlling oomycete growth with more targeted approaches, and the inhibition of sterol synthesis is one promising area. To better direct these efforts, we have studied sterol acquisition in two model organisms: The sterol-Autotrophic Saprolegnia parasitica, and the sterol-heterotrophic Phytophthora infestans. We first present a comprehensive reconstruction of a likely sterol synthesis pathway for S. parasitica, causative agent of the disease saprolegniasis in fish. This pathway shows multiple potential routes of sterol synthesis, and draws on several avenues of new evidence: bioinformatic mining for genes with sterol-related functions, expression analysis of these genes, and analysis of the sterol profiles in mycelium grown in different media. Additionally, we explore the extent to which P. infestans, which causes the late blight in potato, can modify exogenously provided sterols. We consider whether the two very different approaches to sterol acquisition taken by these pathogens represent any specific survival advantages or potential drug targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0170873
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Sterols
  • Mycelium
  • Oomycetes
  • Gene expression
  • Peptones
  • Cholesterol
  • Biosynthesis
  • Methyltransferases


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