Uniparental nuclear inheritance following bisexual mating in fungi.
Some remarkable animal species require an opposite-sex partner for their sexual development but discard the partner's genome before gamete formation, generating hemi-clonal progeny in a process called hybridogenesis. Here, we discovered a similar phenomenon, termed pseudosexual reproduction, in a basidiomycete human fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans, where exclusive uniparental inheritance of nuclear genetic material was observed during bisexual reproduction. Analysis of strains expressing fluorescent reporter proteins revealed instances where only one of the parental nuclei was present in the terminal sporulating basidium. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that the nuclear genome of the progeny was identical with one or the other parental genome. Pseudosexual reproduction was also detected in natural isolate crosses where it resulted in mainly MATα progeny, a bias observed in Cryptococcus ecological distribution as well. The mitochondria in these progeny were inherited from the MATa parent, resulting in nuclear-mitochondrial genome exchange. The meiotic recombinase Dmc1 was found to be critical for pseudosexual reproduction. These findings reveal a novel, and potentially ecologically significant, mode of eukaryotic microbial reproduction that shares features with hybridogenesis in animals.
Yadav, V; Sun, S; Heitman, J
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