DNA sequence characterization and molecular evolution of MAT1 and MAT2 mating-type loci of the self-compatible ascomycete mold Neosartorya fischeri.
Degenerate PCR and chromosome-walking approaches were used to identify mating-type (MAT) genes and flanking regions from the homothallic (sexually self-fertile) euascomycete fungus Neosartorya fischeri, a close relative of the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Both putative alpha- and high-mobility-group-domain MAT genes were found within the same genome, providing a functional explanation for self-fertility. However, unlike those in many homothallic euascomycetes (Pezizomycotina), the genes were not found adjacent to each other and were termed MAT1 and MAT2 to recognize the presence of distinct loci. Complete copies of putative APN1 (DNA lyase) and SLA2 (cytoskeleton assembly control) genes were found bordering the MAT1 locus. Partial copies of APN1 and SLA2 were also found bordering the MAT2 locus, but these copies bore the genetic hallmarks of pseudogenes. Genome comparisons revealed synteny over at least 23,300 bp between the N. fischeri MAT1 region and the A. fumigatus MAT locus region, but no such long-range conservation in the N. fischeri MAT2 region was evident. The sequence upstream of MAT2 contained numerous candidate transposase genes. These results demonstrate a novel means involving the segmental translocation of a chromosomal region by which the ability to undergo self-fertilization may be acquired. The results are also discussed in relation to their significance in indicating that heterothallism may be ancestral within the Aspergillus section Fumigati.
Rydholm, C; Dyer, PS; Lutzoni, F
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