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Plos Genetics : Allelic Exchange of Pheromones and Their Receptors Reprograms Sexual Identity in Cryptococcus Neoformans, Volume 6

By Dutcher, Susan K.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003929516
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Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Plos Genetics : Allelic Exchange of Pheromones and Their Receptors Reprograms Sexual Identity in Cryptococcus Neoformans, Volume 6  
Author: Dutcher, Susan K.
Volume: Volume 6
Language: English
Subject: Journals, Science, Genetics
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), PLoS Genetics
Historic
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Publisher: Plos

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Dutcher, S. K. (n.d.). Plos Genetics : Allelic Exchange of Pheromones and Their Receptors Reprograms Sexual Identity in Cryptococcus Neoformans, Volume 6. Retrieved from http://www.ebooklibrary.org/


Description
Description : Cell type specification is a fundamental process that all cells must carry out to ensure appropriate behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. In fungi, cell identity is critical for defining ‘‘sexes’’ known as mating types and is controlled by components of mating type (MAT) loci. MAT–encoded genes function to define sexes via two distinct paradigms : 1) by controlling transcription of components common to both sexes, or 2) by expressing specially encoded factors (pheromones and their receptors) that differ between mating types. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has two mating types (a and a) that are specified by an extremely unusual MAT locus. The complex architecture of this locus makes it impossible to predict which paradigm governs mating type. To identify the mechanism by which the C. neoformans sexes are determined, we created strains in which the pheromone and pheromone receptor from one mating type (a) replaced the pheromone and pheromone receptor of the other (a). We discovered that these ‘‘aa’’ cells effectively adopt a new mating type (that of a cells): they sense and respond to a factor, they elicit a mating response from a cells, and they fuse with a cells. In addition, aa cells lose the a cell type-specific response to pheromone and do not form germ tubes, instead remaining spherical like a cells. Finally, we discovered that exogenous expression of the diploid/dikaryon-specific transcription factor Sxi2a could then promote complete sexual development in crosses between a and aa strains. These data reveal that cell identity in C. neoformans is controlled fully by three kinds of MAT–encoded proteins : pheromones, pheromone receptors, and homeodomain proteins. Our findings establish the mechanisms for maintenance of distinct cell types and subsequent developmental behaviors in this unusual human fungal pathogen.

 

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