This article is part of the supplement: The PAMGO Consortium: Unifying Themes In Microbe–Host Associations Identified Through The Gene Ontology

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Gene Ontology annotation of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae

Shaowu Meng12, Douglas E Brown1, Daniel J Ebbole3, Trudy Torto-Alalibo4, Yeon Yee Oh1, Jixin Deng15, Thomas K Mitchell16 and Ralph A Dean1*

Author Affiliations

1 Fungal Genomics Laboratory, Center for Integrated Fungal Research, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695, USA

2 Current address: Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, CB# 7295, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA

3 Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA

4 Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

5 Current address: Human Genome Sequencing Center, N1619 Alkek Building, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

6 Current address: Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1087, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S8  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-S1-S8

Published: 19 February 2009



Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of blast disease of rice, is the most destructive disease of rice worldwide. The genome of this fungal pathogen has been sequenced and an automated annotation has recently been updated to Version 6 webcite. However, a comprehensive manual curation remains to be performed. Gene Ontology (GO) annotation is a valuable means of assigning functional information using standardized vocabulary. We report an overview of the GO annotation for Version 5 of M. oryzae genome assembly.


A similarity-based (i.e., computational) GO annotation with manual review was conducted, which was then integrated with a literature-based GO annotation with computational assistance. For similarity-based GO annotation a stringent reciprocal best hits method was used to identify similarity between predicted proteins of M. oryzae and GO proteins from multiple organisms with published associations to GO terms. Significant alignment pairs were manually reviewed. Functional assignments were further cross-validated with manually reviewed data, conserved domains, or data determined by wet lab experiments. Additionally, biological appropriateness of the functional assignments was manually checked.


In total, 6,286 proteins received GO term assignment via the homology-based annotation, including 2,870 hypothetical proteins. Literature-based experimental evidence, such as microarray, MPSS, T-DNA insertion mutation, or gene knockout mutation, resulted in 2,810 proteins being annotated with GO terms. Of these, 1,673 proteins were annotated with new terms developed for Plant-Associated Microbe Gene Ontology (PAMGO). In addition, 67 experiment-determined secreted proteins were annotated with PAMGO terms. Integration of the two data sets resulted in 7,412 proteins (57%) being annotated with 1,957 distinct and specific GO terms. Unannotated proteins were assigned to the 3 root terms. The Version 5 GO annotation is publically queryable via the GO site webcite. Additionally, the genome of M. oryzae is constantly being refined and updated as new information is incorporated. For the latest GO annotation of Version 6 genome, please visit our website webcite. The preliminary GO annotation of Version 6 genome is placed at a local MySql database that is publically queryable via a user-friendly interface Adhoc Query System.


Our analysis provides comprehensive and robust GO annotations of the M. oryzae genome assemblies that will be solid foundations for further functional interrogation of M. oryzae.