Unisexual reproduction enhances fungal competitiveness by promoting habitat exploration via hyphal growth and sporulation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Unisexual reproduction is a novel homothallic sexual cycle recently discovered in both ascomycetous and basidiomycetous pathogenic fungi. It is a form of selfing that induces the yeast-to-hyphal dimorphic transition in isolates of the α mating type of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Unisexual reproduction may benefit the pathogen by facilitating sexual reproduction in the absence of the opposite a mating type and by generating infectious propagules called basidiospores. Here, we report an independent potential selective advantage of unisexual reproduction beyond genetic exchange and recombination. We competed a wild-type strain capable of undergoing unisexual reproduction with mutants defective in this developmental pathway and found that unisexual reproduction provides a considerable dispersal advantage through hyphal growth and sporulation. Our results show that unisexual reproduction may serve to facilitate access to both nutrients and potential mating partners and may provide a means to maintain the capacity for dimorphic transitions in the environment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Phadke, SS; Feretzaki, M; Heitman, J

Published Date

  • August 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1155 - 1159

PubMed ID

  • 23794511

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3754539

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1535-9786

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/EC.00147-13


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States