Alessandra Borgognone, Walter Sanseverino, Riccardo Aiese Cigliano and Raúl Castanera
Long noncoding RNAs have been thoroughly studied in plants, animals, and yeasts, where they play important roles as regulators of transcription. Nevertheless, almost nothing is known about their presence and characteristics in filamentous fungi, especially in basidiomycetes. In the present study, we have carried out an exhaustive annotation and characterization of lncRNAs in two lignin degrader basidiomycetes, Coniophora puteana and Serpula lacrymans. We identified 2,712 putative lncRNAs in the former and 2,242 in the latter, mainly originating from intergenic locations of transposon-sparse genomic regions. The lncRNA length, GC content, expression levels, and stability of the secondary structure differ from coding transcripts but are similar in these two species and resemble that of other eukaryotes. Nevertheless, they lack sequence conservation. Also, we found that lncRNAs are transcriptionally regulated in the same proportion as genes when the fungus actively decomposes soil organic matter. Finally, up to 7% of the upstream gene regions of Coniophora puteanaand Serpula lacrymans are transcribed and produce lncRNAs. The study of expression trends in these gene-lncRNA pairs uncovered groups with similar and opposite transcriptional profiles which may be the result of cis-transcriptional regulation.