Identification of the MATa mating-type locus of Cryptococcus neoformans reveals a serotype A MATa strain thought to have been extinct.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen with a defined sexual cycle involving mating between haploid MATa and MATalpha cells. Here we describe the isolation of part of the MATa mating-type locus encoding a Ste20 kinase homolog, Ste20a. We show that the STE20a gene cosegregates with the MATa mating type in genetic crosses, maps within the mating-type locus on a 1.8-Mb chromosome, and is allelic with the MATalpha locus. We identify the first MATa isolate of the most common pathogenic variety of C. neoformans (serotype A, variety grubii) which had been thought to be extinct. This serotype A MATa strain is sterile, fails to produce mating pheromone, and is less virulent than a serotype A MATalpha strain in an animal model. Our studies illustrate an association of mating type with virulence and suggest that, like Candida albicans, pathogenic isolates of C. neoformans may be largely asexual.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lengeler, KB; Wang, P; Cox, GM; Perfect, JR; Heitman, J

Published Date

  • December 19, 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 97 / 26

Start / End Page

  • 14455 - 14460

PubMed ID

  • 11121047

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC18940

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.97.26.14455


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States