Mating-type locus of Cryptococcus neoformans: a step in the evolution of sex chromosomes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The sexual development and virulence of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is controlled by a bipolar mating system determined by a single locus that exists in two alleles, alpha and a. The alpha and a mating-type alleles from two divergent varieties were cloned and sequenced. The C. neoformans mating-type locus is unique, spans >100 kb, and contains more than 20 genes. MAT-encoded products include homologs of regulators of sexual development in other fungi, pheromone and pheromone receptors, divergent components of a MAP kinase cascade, and other proteins with no obvious function in mating. The alpha and a alleles of the mating-type locus have extensively rearranged during evolution and strain divergence but are stable during genetic crosses and in the population. The C. neoformans mating-type locus is strikingly different from the other known fungal mating-type loci, sharing features with the self-incompatibility systems and sex chromosomes of algae, plants, and animals. Our study establishes a new paradigm for mating-type loci in fungi with implications for the evolution of cell identity and self/nonself recognition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lengeler, KB; Fox, DS; Fraser, JA; Allen, A; Forrester, K; Dietrich, FS; Heitman, J

Published Date

  • October 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 1 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 704 - 718

PubMed ID

  • 12455690

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC126754

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1535-9778

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/EC.1.5.704-718.2002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States