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Genetics. Nov 2000; 156(3): 1025–1033.
PMCID: PMC1461307

Self-compatible B mutants in coprinus with altered pheromone-receptor specificities.

Abstract

A successful mating in the mushroom Coprinus cinereus brings together a compatible complement of pheromones and G-protein-coupled receptors encoded by multiallelic genes at the B mating-type locus. Rare B gene mutations lead to constitutive activation of B-regulated development without the need for mating. Here we characterize a mutation that arose in the B6 locus and show that it generates a mutant receptor with a single amino acid substitution (R96H) at the intracellular end of transmembrane domain III. Using a heterologous yeast assay and synthetic pheromones we show that the mutation does not make the receptor constitutively active but permits it to respond inappropriately to a normally incompatible pheromone encoded within the same B6 locus. Parallel experiments carried out in Coprinus showed that a F67W substitution in this same pheromone enabled it to activate the normally incompatible wild-type receptor. Together, our experiments show that a single amino acid replacement in either pheromone or receptor can deregulate the specificity of ligand-receptor recognition and confer a self-compatible B phenotype. In addition, we use the yeast assay to demonstrate that different receptors and pheromones found at a single B locus belong to discrete subfamilies within which receptor activation cannot normally occur.

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Selected References

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