Home • Meira miltonrushii MCA 3882 v1.0
Meira miltonrushii culture on PDA (left) and cell morphology from yeast peptone glucose broth (right)
Meira miltonrushii culture on PDA (left) and cell morphology from yeast peptone glucose broth (right). Bar = 2.5 mm (left) and 10 µm (right). Photos: Teeratas Kijpornyongpan (left) and Tomas Allen Rush (right).

Meira miltonrushii (CBS12591)

Meira miltonrushii Rush and Aime was first isolated and described from a Magnolia grandiflora phylloplane in Louisiana and to date this is the only known isolate of this fungus (Rush and Aime, 2013).  The first two described Meira species, M. geulakonigii and M. argovae, were initially isolated from a citrus rust mite in Israel (Boekhout et al., 2003). Meira geulakonigii has been the subject of biocontrol experiments where it has been demonstrated to have a toxic effect on several mite species (Sztejnberg et al., 2004; Gerson et al., 2005) and an inhibitory effect on powdery mildew disease (Paz et al., 2007a; Gerson et al., 2008). Members of the genus Meira have also been recovered as an endophytes in various plants tissues (Yasuda et al., 2006; Paz et al., 2007b; Vega et al., 2010).

The type strain of M. miltonrushii (CBS12591) was selected for genome sequencing. In culture, M. miltonrushii forms light brown, cerebriform colonies on potato dextrose agar (PDA). The colonies consist of yeast cells with polar budding. Despite being morphologically similar to the anamorphic “smut” (subphylum Ustilaginomycotina) genus Pseudozyma, phylogenetic analyses of several rDNA loci show that the genus belongs to Brachybasidiaceae, Exobasidiales (Exobasidiomycetes, Ustilaginomycotina) (Rush and Aime, 2013). Whether M. miltonrushii possesses a sexual state remains unknown.

The genome sequence of M. miltonrushii will provide the first whole genome reference sequence for a member of Brachybasidiaceae. Researchers will use these data in phylogenetic and phylogenomic reconstructions and in comparative genomics studies that seek to elucidate the molecular bases governing production of sexual and anamorphic states, invertebrate toxins, and the evolution of phytopathogenicity in Ustilaginomycotina


Genome Reference(s)



Boekhout T, Theelen B, Houbraken J, Robert V, Scorozetti G, Gafni A, Gerson U, Sztejnberg A. 2003. Novel anamorphic mite-associated fungi belonging to the Ustilaginomycetes: Meira geulakonigii gen. nov., sp. nov., Meira argovae sp. nov. and Acaromyces ingoldii gen. nov., sp. nov. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53:1655–166.

Gerson U, Paz Z, Kushnir L, Sztejnberg A. 2005. New fungi to control phytophagous mites and phytopathogenic fungi. IOBC/WPRS Bulletins 28(1):103–106.

Gerson U, Gafni A, Paz Z, Sztejnberg A. 2008. A tale of three acaropathogenic fungi in Israel: Hirsutella, Meira and Acaromyces. Experimental and Applied Acarology 46:183–194. 

Paz Z, Gerson U, Sztejnberg A. 2007a. Assaying three new fungi against citrus mites in the laboratory, and a field trial. Biocontrol 52:855–862.

Paz Z, Burdman S, Gerson U, Sztejnberg A. 2007b. Antagonistic effects of the endophytic fungus Meira geulakonigii on the citrus rust mite Phyloocoptruta oleivora. Journal of Applied Microbiology 103:2570–2579.

Rush TA, Aime MC. 2013. The genus Meira—phylogenetic placement and description of a new species. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 103:1097-1106. 

Sztejnberg A, Paz Z, Boekhout T, Gafni A, Gerson U. 2004. A new fungus with dual biocontrol capabilities: reducing the numbers of phytophagous mites and powdery mildew disease damage. Crop Protection 23:1125–1129.

Vega FE, Simpkins A, Aime MC, Posada F, Peterson SW, Rehner SA, Infante F, Castillo A, Arnold AE. 2010. Fungal endophyte diversity in coffee plants from Colombia, Hawai’i, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Fungal Ecology 3:122–138.

Yasuda F, Yamagishi D, Akamatsu H, Izawa H, Kodama M, Otani H. 2006. Meira nashicola sp. nov., a novel basidiomycetous, anamorphic yeast-like fungus isolated from Japanese pear fruit with reddish stain. Mycoscience 47:36–40.