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Eukaryotic Cell


Mating-type genes in fungi encode regulators of mating and sexual development. Heterothallic ascomycete species require different sets of mating-type genes to control nonself-recognition and mating of compatible partners of different mating types. Homothallic (self-fertile) species also carry mating-type genes in their genome that are essential for sexual development. To analyze the molecular basis of homothallism and the role of mating-type genes during fruiting-body development, we deleted each of the three genes, SmtA-1 (MAT1-1-1), SmtA-2 (MAT1-1-2), and SmtA-3 (MAT1-1-3), contained in the MAT1-1 part of the mating-type locus of the homothallic ascomycete species Sordaria macrospora. Phenotypic analysis of deletion mutants revealed that the PPF domain protein-encoding gene SmtA-2 is essential for sexual reproduction, whereas the alpha domain protein-encoding genes SmtA-1 and SmtA-3 play no role in fruiting-body development. By means of cross-species microarray analysis using Neurospora crassa oligonucleotide microarrays hybridized with S. macrospora targets and quantitative real-time PCR, we identified genes expressed under the control of SmtA-1 and SmtA-2. Both genes are involved in the regulation of gene expression, including that of pheromone genes.