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:

Cabrita A, David-Palma M, Brito PH, Heitman J, Coelho MA, Gonçalves P. 2021. Multiple Pathways to homothallism in closely related yeast lineages in the Basidiomycota. mBio 12:e03130-20.DOI: 10.1128/mBio.03130-20.

Priest SJ, Coelho MA, Mixão V, Clancey SA, Xu Y, Sun S, Gabaldón T, Heitman J. 2021. Factors enforcing the species boundary between the human pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans. PLoS Genet. 17:e1008871.DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008871.

David-Palma M, Libkind D, Brito PH, Silva M, Bellora N, Coelho MA, Heitman J, Gonçalves P, Sampaio JP. 2020. The untapped Australasian diversity of astaxanthin-producing yeasts with biotechnological potential-Phaffia australis sp. nov. and Phaffia tasmanica sp. nov. Microorganisms 8:1651. DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms8111651

Ianiri G, Coelho MA, Ruchti F, Sparber F, McMahon TJ, Fu C, Bolejack M, Donovan O, Smutney H, Myler P, Dietrich F, Fox D 3rd, LeibundGut-Landmann S, Heitman J. 2020. HGT in the human and skin commensal Malassezia: a bacterially derived flavohemoglobin is required for NO resistance and host interaction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117:15884-15894. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003473117.

Yadav V, Sun S, Coelho MA, Heitman J. 2020. Centromere scission drives chromosome shuffling and reproductive isolation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117:7917-7928. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1918659117.

Fang Y, Coelho MA, Shu H, Schotanus K, Thimmappa BC, Yadav V, Chen H, Malc EP, Wang J, Mieczkowski PA, Kronmiller B, Tyler BM, Sanyal K, Dong S, Nowrousian M, Heitman J. 2020. Long transposon-rich centromeres in an oomycete reveal divergence of centromere features in Stramenopila-Alveolata-Rhizaria lineages. PLOS Genet. 16:e1008646. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008646.

Sankaranarayanan SR, Ianiri G, Coelho MA, Reza MH, Thimmappa BC, Ganguly P, Vadnala RN, Sun S, Siddharthan R, Tellgren-Roth C, Dawson TL Jnr, Heitman J, Sanyal K. 2020. Loss of centromere function drives karyotype evolution in closely related Malassezia species. Elife 9:e53944. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.53944.

Sun S, Coelho MA, David-Palma M, Priest SJ, Heitman J. 2019. The Evolution of sexual reproduction and the mating-type locus: links to pathogenesis of Cryptococcus human pathogenic fungi. Annu Rev Genet. 53:417-444. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genet-120116-024755.

Sun S, Coelho MA, Heitman J, Nowrousian M. 2019. Convergent evolution of linked mating-type loci in basidiomycete fungi. PLOS Genet. 15:e1008365. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008365.

Fu C, Coelho MA, David-Palma M, Priest SJ, Heitman J. 2019. Genetic and genomic evolution of sexual reproduction: echoes from LECA to the fungal kingdom. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 58-59:70-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.gde.2019.07.008.

Sun S, Lin X, Coelho MA, Heitman J. 2019. Mating-system evolution: all roads lead to selfing. Curr Biol. 29:R743-R746. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.073.

Passer AR#, Coelho MA#, Billmyre RB, Nowrousian M, Mittelbach M, Yurkov AM, Averette AF, Cuomo CA, Sun S, Heitman J. 2019. Genetic and genomic analyses reveal boundaries between species closely related to Cryptococcus pathogens. mBio. 10:e00764-19. DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00764-19.

Applen Clancey S, Ciccone EJ, Coelho MA, Davis J, Ding L, Betancourt R, Glaubiger S, Lee Y, Holland SM, Gilligan P, Sung J, Heitman J. 2019. Cryptococcus deuterogattii VGIIa infection associated with travel to the Pacific Northwest outbreak region in an anti-granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor autoantibody-positive patient in the United States. mBio 10:e02733-18. DOI: 10.1128/mBio.02733-18.

Carpentier F, Rodríguez de la Vega RC, Branco S, Snirc A, Coelho MA, Hood ME, Giraud T. 2019. Convergent recombination cessation between mating-type genes and centromeres in selfing anther-smut fungi. Genome Res. 29:944-953. DOI: 10.1101/gr.242578.118.

Branco S, Carpentier F, Rodríguez de la Vega R, Badouin H, Snirc A, Le Prieur S, Coelho MA, de Vienne DM, Hartmann F, Bergerow D, Hood ME, Giraud T. 2018. Multiple convergent supergene evolution events in mating-type chromosomes. Nat Commun. 9:2000. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04380-9.

(# equally contributing)