The Phycomyces madA gene encodes a blue-light photoreceptor for phototropism and other light responses.
Phycomyces blakesleeanus is a filamentous zygomycete fungus that produces striking elongated single cells that extend up to 10 cm into the air, with each such sporangiophore supporting a sphere containing the spores for dispersal. This organism has served as a model for the detection of environmental signals as diverse as light, chemicals, touch, wind, gravity, and adjacent objects. In particular, sporangiophore growth is regulated by light, and it exhibits phototropism by bending toward near-UV and blue wavelengths and away from far-UV wavelengths in a manner that is physiologically similar to plant phototropic responses. The Phycomyces madA mutants were first isolated more than 40 years ago, and they exhibit reduced sensitivity to light. Here, we identify two (duplicated) homologs in the White Collar 1 family of blue-light photoreceptors in Phycomyces. We describe that the madA mutant strains contain point mutations in one of these genes and that these mutations cosegregate with a defect in phototropism after genetic crosses. Thus, the phototropic responses of fungi through madA and plants through phototropin rely on diverse proteins; however, these proteins share a conserved flavin-binding domain for photon detection.
Idnurm, A; Rodríguez-Romero, J; Corrochano, LM; Sanz, C; Iturriaga, EA; Eslava, AP; Heitman, J
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