Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Mitochondrial Genome Contributes to the Thermal Adaptation of the Oomycete Phytophthora infestans

Shen, Lin-Lin; Waheed, Abdul; Wang, Yan-Ping; Nkurikiyimfura, Oswald; Wang, Zong-Hua; Yang, Li-Na; Zhan, Jiasui


As a vital element of climate change, elevated temperatures resulting from global warming present new challenges to natural and agricultural sustainability, such as ecological disease management. Mitochondria regulate the energy production of cells in responding to environmental fluctuation, but studying their contribution to the thermal adaptation of species is limited. This knowledge is needed to predict future disease epidemiology for ecology conservation and food security. Spatial distributions of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) in 405 Phytophthora infestans isolates originating from 15 locations were characterized. The contribution of MtDNA to thermal adaptation was evaluated by comparative analysis of mtDNA frequency and intrinsic growth rate, relative population differentiation in nuclear and mtDNA, and associations of mtDNA distribution with local geography climate conditions. Significant variation in frequency, intrinsic growth rate, and spatial distribution was detected in mtDNA. Population differentiation in mtDNA was significantly higher than that in the nuclear genome, and spatial distribution of mtDNA was strongly associated with local climatic conditions and geographic parameters, particularly air temperature, suggesting natural selection caused by a local temperature is the main driver of the adaptation. Dominant mtDNA grew faster than the less frequent mtDNA. Our results provide useful insights into the evolution of pathogens under global warming. Given its important role in biological functions and adaptation to local air temperature, mtDNA intervention has become an increasing necessity for future disease management. To secure ecological integrity and food production under global warming, a synergistic study on the interactive effect of changing temperature on various components of biological and ecological functions of mitochondria in an evolutionary frame is urgently needed.


mitochondria; evolutionary ecology; population genetic; local adaptation; agricultural pathogen; climate change

Published in

Frontiers in Microbiology
2022, Volume: 13, article number: 928464

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG13 Climate action

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Climate Research

    More information

    Correction in: Frontiers in Microbiology, 2022, Volume: 13: 1002575, DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1002575

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)