Identification of the mating-type (MAT) locus that controls sexual reproduction of Blastomyces dermatitidis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Blastomyces dermatitidis is a dimorphic fungal pathogen that primarily causes blastomycosis in the midwestern and northern United States and Canada. While the genes controlling sexual development have been known for a long time, the genes controlling sexual reproduction of B. dermatitidis (teleomorph, Ajellomyces dermatitidis) are unknown. We identified the mating-type (MAT) locus in the B. dermatitidis genome by comparative genomic approaches. The B. dermatitidis MAT locus resembles those of other dimorphic fungi, containing either an alpha-box (MAT1-1) or an HMG domain (MAT1-2) gene linked to the APN2, SLA2, and COX13 genes. However, in some strains of B. dermatitidis, the MAT locus harbors transposable elements (TEs) that make it unusually large compared to the MAT locus of other dimorphic fungi. Based on the MAT locus sequences of B. dermatitidis, we designed specific primers for PCR determination of the mating type. Two B. dermatitidis isolates of opposite mating types were cocultured on mating medium. Immature sexual structures were observed starting at 3 weeks of coculture, with coiled-hyphae-containing cleistothecia developing over the next 3 to 6 weeks. Genetic recombination was detected in potential progeny by mating-type determination, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analyses, suggesting that a meiotic sexual cycle might have been completed. The F1 progeny were sexually fertile when tested with strains of the opposite mating type. Our studies provide a model for the evolution of the MAT locus in the dimorphic and closely related fungi and open the door to classic genetic analysis and studies on the possible roles of mating and mating type in infection and virulence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Li, W; Sullivan, TD; Walton, E; Averette, AF; Sakthikumar, S; Cuomo, CA; Klein, BS; Heitman, J

Published Date

  • January 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 109 - 117

PubMed ID

  • 23143684

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3535845

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1535-9786

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/EC.00249-12


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States