Genomic adaptations of the halophilic Dead Sea filamentous fungus Eurotium rubrum

Tamar Kis-Papo, Alfons R. Weig, Robert Riley, Derek Peršoh, Asaf Salamov, Hui Sun, Anna Lipzen, Solomon P. Wasser, Gerhard Rambold, Igor V. Grigoriev, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dead Sea is one of the most hypersaline habitats on Earth. The fungus Eurotium rubrum (Eurotiomycetes) is among the few species able to survive there. Here we highlight its adaptive strategies, based on genome analysis and transcriptome profiling. The 26.2 Mb genome of E. rubrum shows, for example, gains in gene families related to stress response and losses with regard to transport processes. Transcriptome analyses under different salt growth conditions revealed, among other things differentially expressed genes encoding ion and metabolite transporters. Our findings suggest that long-term adaptation to salinity requires cellular and metabolic responses that differ from short-term osmotic stress signalling. The transcriptional response indicates that halophilic E. rubrum actively counteracts the salinity stress. Many of its genes encode for proteins with a significantly higher proportion of acidic amino acid residues. This trait is characteristic of the halophilic prokaryotes as well, supporting the theory of convergent evolution under extreme hypersaline stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3745
Pages (from-to)3745
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Benjamin A. Horwitz for comments on the manuscript, and Ronald P. de Vries and his colleagues from CBS for their help with the classification of this fungus. The work conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The work conducted at the Institute of Evolution is supported by the Ancell Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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