The Evolution of Sexual Reproduction and the Mating-Type Locus: Links to Pathogenesis of Cryptococcus Human Pathogenic Fungi.
Cryptococcus species utilize a variety of sexual reproduction mechanisms, which generate genetic diversity, purge deleterious mutations, and contribute to their ability to occupy myriad environmental niches and exhibit a range of pathogenic potential. The bisexual and unisexual cycles of pathogenic Cryptococcus species are stimulated by properties associated with their environmental niches and proceed through well-characterized signaling pathways and corresponding morphological changes. Genes governing mating are encoded by the mating-type (MAT) loci and influence pathogenesis, population dynamics, and lineage divergence in Cryptococcus. MAT has undergone significant evolutionary changes within the Cryptococcus genus, including transition from the ancestral tetrapolar state in nonpathogenic species to a bipolar mating system in pathogenic species, as well as several internal reconfigurations. Owing to the variety of established sexual reproduction mechanisms and the robust characterization of the evolution of mating and MAT in this genus, Cryptococcus species provide key insights into the evolution of sexual reproduction.
Sun, S; Coelho, MA; David-Palma, M; Priest, SJ; Heitman, J
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