Molecular and genetic evidence for a tetrapolar mating system in the basidiomycetous yeast Kwoniella mangrovensis and two novel sibling species.
Kwoniella mangrovensis has been described as a sexual species with a bipolar mating system. Phylogenetic analysis of multiple genes places this species together with Kwoniella heveanensis in the Kwoniella clade, a sister clade to that containing two pathogenic species of global importance, Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii, within the Tremellales. Recent studies defining the mating type loci (MAT) of species in these clades showed that, with the exception of C. neoformans and C. gattii, which are bipolar with a single biallelic multigene MAT locus, several other species feature a tetrapolar mating system with two unlinked loci (homeodomain [HD] and pheromone/receptor [P/R] loci). We characterized several strains from the original study describing K. mangrovensis; two MAT regions were amplified and sequenced: the STE20 gene (P/R locus) and the divergently transcribed SXI1 and SXI2 genes (HD locus). We identified five different mating types with different STE20/SXI allele combinations that together with results of mating experiments demonstrate that K. mangrovensis is not bipolar but instead has a tetrapolar mating system. Sequence and gene analysis for a 43-kb segment of the K. mangrovensis type strain MAT locus revealed remarkable synteny with the homologous K. heveanensis MAT P/R region, providing new insights into slower evolution of MAT loci in the Kwoniella compared to the Cryptococcus clade of the Tremellales. The study of additional isolates from plant substrates in Europe and Botswana using a combination of multilocus sequencing with MAT gene analysis revealed two novel sibling species that we name Kwoniella europaea and Kwoniella botswanensis and which appear to also have tetrapolar mating systems.
Guerreiro, MA; Springer, DJ; Rodrigues, JA; Rusche, LN; Findley, K; Heitman, J; Fonseca, A
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