Project description:We report the elucidation of the complete genome of the Neurospora crassa (Shear and Dodge) strain FGSC 73, a mat-a, trp-3 mutant strain. The genome sequence around the idiotypic mating type locus represents the only publicly available sequence for a mat-a strain. 40.42 Megabases are assembled into 358 scaffolds carrying 11,978 gene models.
Project description: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 orthologous genes among all three species. Expression of key meiosis genes and sporulation genes corresponded to known phenotypic and developmental differences among these Neurospora species during sexual development. We assembled a list of genes putatively relevant to the recent evolution of fruiting body development by sorting genes whose relative expression across developmental stages increased more in N. crassa relative to the other species. Then, in N. crassa, we characterized the phenotypes of fruiting bodies arising from crosses of homozygous knockout strains of the top genes. Eight N. crassa genes were found to be critical for the successful formation of perithecia. The absence of these genes in these 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 multicellular ascomycetes, including perithecium-forming pathogens, such as Claviceps purpurea, Ophiostoma ulmi, and Glomerella graminicola.
Project description: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
Project description:Histone H1 variants, known as linker histones, are essential chromatin components in higher eukaryotes, yet compared to the core histones relatively little is known about their in vivo functions. The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa encodes a single H1 protein that is not essential for viability. To investigate the role of N. crassa H1, we constructed a functional FLAG-tagged H1 fusion protein and performed genomic and molecular analyses. Cell fractionation experiments showed that H1-3XFLAG is a chromatin binding protein. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation combined with sequencing (ChIP-seq) revealed that H1-3XFLAG is globally enriched throughout the genome with a subtle preference for promoters of expressed genes. In mammals, the stoichiometry of H1 impacts nucleosome repeat length. To determine if H1 impacts nucleosome occupancy or nucleosome positioning in N. crassa, we performed micrococcal nuclease digestion in the wild-type and the [Formula: see text]hH1 strain followed by sequencing (MNase-seq). Deletion of hH1 did not significantly impact nucleosome positioning or nucleosome occupancy. Analysis of DNA methylation by whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (MethylC-seq) revealed a modest but global increase in DNA methylation in the [Formula: see text]hH1 mutant. Together, these data suggest that H1 acts as a nonspecific chromatin binding protein that can limit accessibility of the DNA methylation machinery in N. crassa.
Project description:In many cases, genes for commonly used genetic markers in model organisms have not been identified; therefore, it is of interest to identify the causative genes. Whole-genome sequencing was used to identify potential causative mutations for a col-4 allele of Neurospora crassa.
Project description:A Neurospora crassa cosmid library of 12,000 clones (at least nine genome equivalents) has been created using an improved cosmid vector pLorist6Xh, which contains a bacteriophage lambda origin of replication for low-copy-number replication in bacteria and the hygromycin phosphotransferase marker for direct selection in fungi. The electrophoretic karyotype of the seven chromosomes comprising the 42.9-Mb N. crassa genome was resolved using two translocation strains. Using gel-purified chromosomal DNAs as probes against the new cosmid library and the commonly used medium-copy-number pMOcosX N. crassa cosmid library in two independent screenings, the cosmids were assigned to chromosomes. Assignments of cosmids to linkage groups on the basis of the genetic map vs. the electrophoretic karyotype are 93 +/- 3% concordant. The size of each chromosome-specific subcollection of cosmids was found to be linearly proportional to the size of the particular chromosome. Sequencing of an entire cosmid containing the qa gene cluster indicated a gene density of 1 gene per 4 kbp; by extrapolation, 11,000 genes would be expected to be present in the N. crassa genome. By hybridizing 79 nonoverlapping cosmids with an average insert size of 34 kbp against cDNA arrays, the density of previously characterized expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was found to be slightly <1 per cosmid (i.e., 1 per 40 kbp), and most cosmids, on average, contained an identified N. crassa gene sequence as a starting point for gene identification.
Project description:The mating-type locus of the haploid filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is a regulatory region that controls entry into the sexual cycle and prevents formation of mixed mating-type heterokaryons in the vegetative phase. The locus consists of alternative sequences called A and a. The A mating-type DNA sequence of Neurospora crassa is composed of a region of 5301 base pairs that has little similarity to the sequence present at the mating-type locus in an a mating-type strain. However, the sequences flanking the mating-type locus in the A haploid and a haploid genome are essentially identical. The region of the A mating-type sequence required for expression of the heterokaryon incompatibility and sexual functions has been localized to a single open reading frame (ORF) encoding a polypeptide of 288 amino acids. Sequence analysis of sterile, heterokaryon-compatible mutants reveals frameshift mutations in this same ORF. The putative 288-amino acid product has a region of similarity to the MAT alpha 1 polypeptide of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Project description:Understanding the genetic and molecular bases of the ability to distinguish self from nonself (allorecognition) and mechanisms underlying evolution of allorecognition systems is an important endeavor for understanding cases where it becomes dysfunctional, such as in autoimmune disorders. In filamentous fungi, allorecognition can result in vegetative or heterokaryon incompatibility, which is a type of programmed cell death that occurs following fusion of genetically different cells. Allorecognition is genetically controlled by het loci, with coexpression of any combination of incompatible alleles triggering vegetative incompatibility. Herein, we identified, characterized, and inferred the evolutionary history of candidate het loci in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. As characterized het loci encode proteins carrying an HET domain, we annotated HET domain genes in 25 isolates from a natural population along with the N. crassa reference genome using resequencing data. Because allorecognition systems can be affected by frequency-dependent selection favoring rare alleles (i.e., balancing selection), we mined resequencing data for HET domain loci whose alleles displayed elevated levels of variability, excess of intermediate frequency alleles, and deep gene genealogies. From these analyses, 34 HET domain loci were identified as likely to be under balancing selection. Using transformation, incompatibility assays and genetic analyses, we determined that one of these candidates functioned as a het locus (het-e). The het-e locus has three divergent allelic groups that showed signatures of positive selection, intra- and intergroup recombination, and trans-species polymorphism. Our findings represent a compelling case of balancing selection functioning on multiple alleles across multiple loci potentially involved in allorecognition.
Project description:In the post-genome era, insufficient functional annotation of predicted genes greatly restricts the potential of mining genome data. We demonstrate that an evolutionary approach, which is independent of functional annotation, has great potential as a tool for genome analysis. We chose the genome of a model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa as an example. Phylogenetic distribution of each predicted protein coding gene (PCG) in the N. crassa genome was used to classify genes into six mutually exclusive lineage specificity (LS) groups, i.e. Eukaryote/Prokaryote-core, Dikarya-core, Ascomycota-core, Pezizomycotina-specific, N. crassa-orphans and Others. Functional category analysis revealed that only approximately 23% of PCGs in the two most highly lineage-specific grouping, Pezizomycotina-specific and N. crassa-orphans, have functional annotation. In contrast, approximately 76% of PCGs in the remaining four LS groups have functional annotation. Analysis of chromosomal localization of N. crassa-orphan PCGs and genes encoding for secreted proteins showed enrichment in subtelomeric regions. The origin of N. crassa-orphans is not known. We found that 11% of N. crassa-orphans have paralogous N. crassa-orphan genes. Of the paralogous N. crassa-orphan gene pairs, 33% were tandemly located in the genome, implying a duplication origin of N. crassa-orphan PCGs in the past. LS grouping is thus a useful tool to explore and understand genome organization, evolution and gene function in fungi.