Home • Mortierella wolfii NRRL 6351 v1.0
Mortierella wolfii NRRL 6351. Photo credit: Julian Liber.
Mortierella wolfii NRRL 6351. Photo credit: Julian Liber.

The genome of Mortierella wolfii NRRL6351 was sequenced by JGI in the framework of the ZygoLife project and Community Sequencing Project 1978 – “Genomics of the early diverging lineages of fungi and their transition to terrestrial, plant-based ecologies”. Zygomyceteous fungi are an ancient and diverse group of sexual and filamentous fungi, whose evolutionary history and ecological associations remain poorly resolved. The ZygoLife project aims to: 1) reconstruct the genealogical relationships of this early diverging branch in the fungal tree of life; 2) resolve the origins of symbiotic relationships between plants and zygomycetes; 3) reveal how complex body plans evolved in the group; 4) elucidate mechanisms of mating genetics between organisms with complex and differing life cycles, and; 5) develop genomic barcodes to facilitate identification of unknown fungi. Towards these goals we are sequencing genomes of diverse representative zygomycete taxa.

Fungi in the genus Mortierella belong within the subphylum Mortierellomycotina (phylum Mucoromycota). These fungi are important industrially given their unique lipid and fatty acid metabolism, and they are common and abundant inhabitants of soil and plant roots. Despite these observations, their basic biology and ecology remains poorly understood.

Mortierella wolfii belongs to a basal lineage of the Mortierellaceae and appears to be widespread. This species was originally isolated from soil in India, but has been isolated from hay, soil, compost, and bovine lung tissue (Mehrotra and Baijal 1963; Neilan et al. 1982). Mortierella wolfii is exceptional in that it can cause pneumonia in cows and other animals (Davies et al. 2010).

Davies, J. L., M. Ngeleka, and G. A. Wobeser. 2010. “Systemic Infection with Mortierella wolfii Following Abortion in a Cow.” Canadian Veterinary Journal-Revue Veterinaire Canadienne 51 (12): 1391–93.

Mehrotra, B. S., and U. Baijal. 1963. “Species of Mortierella from India. III.” Mycopathologia et Mycologia Applicata 20 (August): 49–54.

Neilan, M. C., I. P. McCausland, and M. Maslen. 1982. “Mycotic Pneumonia, Placentitis and Neonatal Encephalitis in Dairy Cattle Caused by Mortierella wolfii.” Australian Veterinary Journal 59 (2): 48–49.