RPDOC - Retour Post-Doctorants

Genome adaptation of Penicillium fungi to cheese environment – FROMA-GEN

Submission summary

Cheese is a nutrient-rich complex biochemical environment where bacteria and fungi compete for food. The competition between these microorganisms has helped humans in developing a huge variety of flavours that most of us enjoy at lunch or dinner. The origin of cheese fabrication lays in the domestication of the microcosm associated to cheese. Similarly to what is observed in macroorganisms such as crops or cattle, the domestication of microorganisms is followed by tremendous changes in phenotypes and physiology. The discovery of cheese-making process ca. 2000 years ago have been followed by successive selection steps of the best strains of fungi and bacteria that have greatly remodelled the genome of these microorganisms. In this project, we propose to unravel the genomic changes that have occurred during the domestication of the fungi Penicillium. First, comparisons between several genomes of cheese-adapted and wild Penicillium species will reveal the global genome organisation of fungi adapted to cheese. Second, we will study the genome diversity of the fungus associated with blue-veined cheese, Penicillium roqueforti. Populations adapted to cheese and populations occurring in their natural habitat will be contrasted to each other. The project intends to use the most recent molecular and bioinformatics techniques to capture the pattern of adaptive divergence in fungi, organisms that have been widely overlooked in this context. This will allow getting important insights into the processes of adaptation at the genomic level. In addition, such a project has the potential to help in the development of new biotechnologies in one of the most important and famous sector of French agriculture.

Project coordination

Antoine Branca (Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique, Evolution) – Antoine.Branca@u-psud.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


ESE Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique, Evolution

Help of the ANR 308,743 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2013 - 36 Months

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