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Fungal Genet Biol. 1999 Jul-Aug;27(2-3):253-63.

Isolation of pheromone precursor genes of Magnaporthe grisea.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2132, USA.


In heterothallic ascomycetes one mating partner serves as the source of female tissue and is fertilized with spermatia from a partner of the opposite mating type. The role of pheromone signaling in mating is thought to involve recognition of cells of the opposite mating type. We have isolated two putative pheromone precursor genes of Magnaporthe grisea. The genes are present in both mating types of the fungus but they are expressed in a mating type-specific manner. The MF1-1 gene, expressed in Mat1-1 strains, is predicted to encode a 26-amino-acid polypeptide that is processed to produce a lipopeptide pheromone. The MF2-1 gene, expressed in Mat1-2 strains, is predicted to encode a precursor polypeptide that is processed by a Kex2-like protease to yield a pheromone with striking similarity to the predicted pheromone sequence of a close relative, Cryphonectria parasitica. Expression of the M. grisea putative pheromone precursor genes was observed under defined nutritional conditions and in field isolates. This suggests that the requirement for complex media for mating and the poor fertility of field isolates may not be due to limitation of pheromone precursor gene expression. Detection of putative pheromone precursor gene mRNA in conidia suggests that pheromones may be important for the fertility of conidia acting as spermatia.

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