Marco Antonio Dias Coelho

Heitman Lab

Senior Research Associate
DUMC Box 3546
317 CARL
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-0278
Fax: 919-684-2790 


Research Interest: I’ve been mostly interested in understanding the evolutionary trajectory of the genomic regions governing mating type identity in fungi. In the past years, special attention has been given to a deep-branching lineage of the Basidiomycota that includes the red-pigmented yeasts of the genera Rhodotorula and Sporobolomyces. I identified for the first time in this lineage the two independent sets of genes governing sexual reproduction, along with their allocation to the genomic region that governs sexual identity (MAT locus). At Heitman’s lab, I will be focusing on a fungal lineage that includes both the pathogenic Cryptococcus species complex as well as non-pathogenic Cryptococcus and Kwoniella species. Taking advantage of the current state-of-the-art of long-read sequencing, we will be able to study with detail the evolution of the mating-type chromosomes and how/when “supergenes” evolved by linkage of the two mating type loci controlling pre- and post-mating compatibility in many basidiomycetes. In addition, we will address outstanding questions such as how chromosomal length polymorphisms are maintained in sexual reproducing organisms that undergo a series of orchestrated steps to promote faithful chromosome pairing and segregation during meiosis? and, secondly, what are the causes and consequences of chromosomal rearrangements and other structural variants affecting natural populations and speciation? Other interests include several topics related with yeast ecology and diversity and the impact of horizontal gene transfer in shaping fungal secondary metabolism.

Personal Interests: I enjoy cooking, hiking, swimming, travelling and technological gadgets.

Publications List:

Branco S, Badouin H, Rodríguez de la Vega RC, Gouzy J, Carpentier F, Aguileta G, Siguenza S, Brandenburg JT, Coelho MA, Hood ME, Giraud T. 2017. Evolutionary strata on young mating-type chromosomes despite the lack of sexual antagonism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:7067–7072. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1701658114

Coelho MA*, Bakkeren G, Sun S, Hood ME, Giraud T. 2017. Fungal Sex: The Basidiomycota. Microbiol Spectr. 5: FUNK-0046-2016. DOI: 10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0046-2016

Bellora N, Moliné M, David-Palma M, Coelho MA, Hittinger CT, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P, Libkind D. 2016. Comparative genomics provides new insights into the diversity, physiology, and sexuality of the only industrially exploited tremellomycete: Phaffia rhodozyma. BMC Genomics. 17:901.DOI:10.1186/s12864-016-3244-7

Francesca N, Guerreiro MA, Carvalho C, Coelho M, Alfonzo A, Randazzo W, Sampaio JP, Moschetti G. 2016. Jaminaea phylloscopi sp. nov. (Microstromatales), a basidiomycetous yeast isolated from migratory birds in the Mediterranean basin. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 66:824-9.DOI:10.1099/ijsem.0.000801

Gonçalves C, Coelho MA, Salema-Oom M, Gonçalves P. 2016. Stepwise functional evolution in a fungal sugar transporter family. Mol Biol Evol. 33:352-66.DOI:10.1093/molbev/msv219

Maia TM, Lopes ST, Almeida JMFCF, Rosa LH, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P, Coelho MA*. 2015. Evolution of Mating Systems in Basidiomycetes and the Genetic Architecture Underlying Mating-Type Determination in the Yeast Leucosporidium scottii. Genetics 201: 75-89.DOI:10.1534/genetics.115.177717.

Coelho MA*, Almeida JMGCF, Hittinger CT, Gonçalves P. 2015. Draft genome sequence of Sporidiobolus salmonicolor CBS 6832, a red-pigmented basidiomycetous yeast. Genome Announ 3:e00444-15. DOI:10.1128/genomeA.00444-15.

de Garcia V, Coelho MA, Maia TM, Rosa LH, Vaz AM, Rosa CA, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P, van Broock M, Libkind D. 2015. Sex in the cold: taxonomic reorganization of psychrotolerant yeasts in the order Leucosporidiales. FEMS Yeast Res. 15:4. DOI:

Coelho MA, Gonçalves C, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P. 2013. Extensive intra-kingdom horizontal gene transfer converging on a fungal fructose transporter gene. PLoS Genet. 9(6): e1003587. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003587.

Coelho MA*, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P. 2013. Living and thriving on the skin: Malassezia genomes tell the story. mBio 4: e00117-13. DOI:10.1128/mBio.00117-13. DOI:10.1128/mBio.00117-13

Gomes-Rezende JA, Gomes-Alves AG, Menino JF, Coelho MA, Ludovico P, Gonçalves P, Mark H. J. Sturme, Rodrigues F. 2012. Functionality of the Paracoccidioides Mating alpha-Pheromone-Receptor System. PLoS ONE 7: e47033. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0047033

Petit E, Giraud T, de Vien ne DM, Coelho MA, Aguileta G, Amselem J, Kreplak J, Poulain J, Gavory F, Wincker P, Young SK, Cuomo CA, Perlin MH, Hood ME. 2012. Linkage to the mating-type locus across the genus Microbotryum: Insights into non-recombining chromosomes. Evolution 66: 3519–3533. DOI:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01703.x.

Coelho MA, Gonçalves P, Sampaio JP. 2011. Evidence for maintenance of sex determinants but not of sexual stages in red yeasts, a group of early diverged basidiomycetes. BMC Evol. Biol. 11: 249. DOI 10.1186/1471-2148-11-249.

Berraf-Tebbal, A, Bouznad Z, Santos JM, Coelho MA, Péros JP, Phillips AJL. 2011. Phaeoacremonium species associated with Eutypa dieback and esca of grapevines in Algeria. Phytopathol. Mediterr. 50S: 86-97. DOI:10.14601/Phytopathol_Mediterr-9025.

Coelho MA, Sampaio JP, Gonçalves P. 2010. A deviation from the bipolar-tetrapolar mating paradigm in an early diverged basidiomycete. PLoS Genetics 6(8): e1001052. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001052.

Coelho MA, Almeida JMF, Martins IM, Jorge da Silva A and Sampaio JP. 2010. The dynamics of the yeast community of the Tagus river estuary – testing the hypothesis of the multiple origins of estuarine yeasts. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 98: 331-342.DOI 10.1007/s10482-010-9445-1.

Coelho MA, Rosa Á, Rodrigues N, Fonseca Á and Gonçalves P. 2008. Identification of mating type genes in the bipolar basidiomycetous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides: first insight into the MAT locus structure of the Sporidiobolales. Eukaryotic Cell 7: 1053-1061. DOI:10.1128/EC.00025-08.

(*as corresponding author)