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Maintaining Two Mating Types: Structure of the Mating Type Locus and Its Role in Heterokaryosis in Podospora anserina

Abstract : Pseudo-homothallism is a reproductive strategy elected by some fungi producing heterokaryotic sexual spores containing genetically different but sexually compatible nuclei. This lifestyle appears as a compromise between true homothallism (self-fertility with predominant inbreeding) and complete heterothallism (with exclusive outcrossing). However, pseudohomothallic species face the problem of maintaining heterokaryotic mycelia to fully benefit from this lifestyle, as homokaryons are self-sterile. Here, we report on the structure of chromosome 1 in mat+ and mat- isolates of strain S of the pseudohomothallic fungus Podospora anserina. Chromosome 1 contains either one of the mat+ and mat- mating types of P. anserina, which is mostly found in nature as a mat+/mat- heterokaryotic mycelium harboring sexually compatible nuclei. We identified a "mat" region ∼0.8 Mb long, devoid of meiotic recombination and containing the mating-type idiomorphs, which is a candidate to be involved in the maintenance of the heterokaryotic state, since the S mat+ and S mat- strains have different physiology that may enable hybrid-vigor-like phenomena in the heterokaryons. The mat region contains 229 coding sequences. A total of 687 polymorphisms were detected between the S mat+ and S mat- chromosomes. Importantly, the mat region is colinear between both chromosomes, which calls for an original mechanism of recombination inhibition. Microarray analyses revealed that 10% of the P. anserina genes have different transcriptional profiles in S mat+ and S mat-, in line with their different phenotypes. Finally, we show that the heterokaryotic state is faithfully maintained during mycelium growth of P. anserina, yet mat+/mat+ and mat-/mat- heterokaryons are as stable as mat+/mat- ones, evidencing a maintenance of heterokaryosis that does not rely on fitness-enhancing complementation between the S mat+ and S mat- strains.
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Contributor : Nadia Berkoun Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, February 26, 2021 - 2:52:19 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 1:58:34 PM

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Pierre Grognet, Frédérique Bidard, Claire Kuchly, Laetitia Chan Ho Tong, Evelyne Coppin, et al.. Maintaining Two Mating Types: Structure of the Mating Type Locus and Its Role in Heterokaryosis in Podospora anserina. Genetics, Genetics Society of America, 2014, 197 (1), pp.421-432. ⟨10.1534/genetics.113.159988⟩. ⟨hal-03153569⟩



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