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:1. Neurospora crassa catabolic dehydroquinase has been purified from N. crassa and Escherichia coli. 2. Protein-sequence and gel-electrophoretic data show that apparently pure, homogeneous native dehydroquinase is a mixture of intact and proteinase-cleaved enzyme monomers. 3. Protein-sequence data and steady-state kinetics show that the catabolic dehydroquinase gene of N. crassa is expressed with fidelity in E. coli.
Project description:Neurospora crassa has a long history as an excellent model for genetic, cellular, and biochemical research. Although this fungus is known as a saprotroph, it normally appears on burned vegetations or trees after forest fires. However, due to a lack of experimental evidence, the nature of its association with living plants remains enigmatic. Here we report that Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a host plant for N. crassa. The endophytic lifestyle of N. crassa was found in its interaction with Scots pine. Moreover, the fungus can switch to a pathogenic state when its balanced interaction with the host is disrupted. Our data reveal previously unknown lifestyles of N. crassa, which are likely controlled by both environmental and host factors. Switching among the endophytic, pathogenic, and saprotrophic lifestyles confers upon fungi phenotypic plasticity in adapting to changing environments and drives the evolution of fungi and associated plants.
Project description:The soluble form of adenylate cyclase was extracted and purified from wild-type Neurospora crassa mycelia. Brain or N. crassa calmodulin significantly enhanced this enzyme activity in assay mixtures containing Mg2+-ATP as substrate. EGTA reverses this calmodulin activation.
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.