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Molecular Genetics of Emericella nidulans Sexual Development

Mycobiology (KAMJE)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4489/myco.2009.37.3.171
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Many aspergilli that belongs to ascomycetes have sexuality. In a homothallic or self-fertile fungus, a number of fruiting bodies or cleistothecia are formed in a thallus grown from a single haploid conidia or ascospores. Genome-sequencing project revealed that two mating genes (MAT) encoding the regulatory proteins that are necessary for controlling partner recognition in heterothallic fungi were conserved in most aspergilli. The MAT gene products in some self-fertile species were not required for recognition of mating partner at pheromone-signaling stage but required at later stages of sexual development. Various environmental factors such as nutritional status, culture conditions and several stresses, influence the decision or progression of sexual reproduction. A large number of genes are expected to be involved in sexual development of Emericella nidulans (anamorph: Aspergillus nidulans), a genetic and biological model organism in aspergilli. The sexual development process can be grouped into several development stages, including the decision of sexual reproductive cycle, mating process, growth of fruiting body, karyogamy followed by meiosis, and sporulation process. Complicated regulatory networks, such as signal transduction pathways and gene expression controls, may work in each stage and stage-to-stage linkages. In this review, the components joining in the regulatory pathways of sexual development, although they constitute only a small part of the whole regulatory networks, are briefly mentioned. Some of them control sexual development positively and some do negatively. Regarding the difficulties for studying sexual differentiation compare to asexual one, recent progresses in molecular genetics of E. nidulans enlarge the boundaries of understanding sexual development in the non-fertile species as well as in fertile fungi.

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