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Genetics. 2001 Mar;157(3):1003-14.

An STE12 homolog from the asexual, dimorphic fungus Penicillium marneffei complements the defect in sexual development of an Aspergillus nidulans steA mutant.

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1
Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Victoria, 3010 Australia.

Abstract

Penicillium marneffei is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans and the only dimorphic species identified in its genus. At 25 degrees P. marneffei exhibits true filamentous growth, while at 37 degrees P. marneffei undergoes a dimorphic transition to produce uninucleate yeast cells that divide by fission. Members of the STE12 family of regulators are involved in controlling mating and yeast-hyphal transitions in a number of fungi. We have cloned a homolog of the S. cerevisiae STE12 gene from P. marneffei, stlA, which is highly conserved. The stlA gene, along with the A. nidulans steA and Cryptococcus neoformans STE12alpha genes, form a distinct subclass of STE12 homologs that have a C2H2 zinc-finger motif in addition to the homeobox domain that defines STE12 genes. To examine the function of stlA in P. marneffei, we isolated a number of mutants in the P. marneffei-type strain and, in combination with selectable markers, developed a highly efficient DNA-mediated transformation procedure and gene deletion strategy. Deletion of the stlA gene had no detectable effect on vegetative growth, asexual development, or dimorphic switching in P. marneffei. Despite the lack of a detectable function, the P. marneffei stlA gene complemented the sexual defect of an A. nidulans steA mutant. In addition, substitution rate estimates indicate that there is a significant bias against nonsynonymous substitutions. These data suggest that P. marneffei may have a previously unidentified cryptic sexual cycle.

PMID:
11238390
PMCID:
PMC1461550
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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