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Gene expression levels in three Neurospora species reveal genes crucial for sexual reproduction in Neurospora crassa

ABSTRACT: Many fungi form complex three-dimensional fruiting bodies, within which the meiotic machinery for sexual spore production has been considered to be largely conserved over evolutionary time. Indeed, much of what we know about meiosis in plant and animal taxa has been deeply informed by studies of meiosis in Saccharomyces and Neurospora. Nevertheless, the genetic basis of fruiting body development and its regulation in relation to meiosis in fungi is barely known, even within the best studied multicellular fungal model Neurospora crassa. We characterized morphological development and genome-wide transcriptomics in the closely related species Neurospora crassa, Neurospora tetrasperma, and Neurospora discreta, across eight stages of sexual development. Despite diverse life histories within the genus, all three species produce vase-shaped perithecia. Transcriptome sequencing provided gene expression levels of 2479 orthologous genes among all three species. Expression of key meiosis genes and sporulation genes, corresponded to developmental differences among these Neurospora species during sexual development. Screening N. crassa knockout crosses of genes selected for their expression differences across species, eight genes, whose functions were previously unknown, are found to be critical for the successful formation of perithecia. The absence of these genes in mutant crosses resulted in either no perithecium formation or in arrested development at an early stage. Our results provide insight into the genetic basis of Neurospora sexual reproduction, which is also of great importance with regard to other multicelluar ascomycetes, including fungal pathogens closely related to Neurospora in the Sordariomycetes, such as Fusarium spp, Magnaporthe oryzae, and Nectria haematococca mRNA were sampled and compared from eight time points across sexual reproduction in three Neurospora species

ORGANISM(S): Neurospora discreta  

SUBMITTER: Zheng Wang   Jeffrey P Townsend 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-60255 | ArrayExpress | 2014-12-12



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