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Eukaryot Cell. 2003 Apr;2(2):328-40.

Three mating type-like loci in Candida glabrata.

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Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Candida glabrata, the second most prevalent Candida species colonizing humans, possesses three mating type-like (MTL) loci (MTL1, MTL2, and MTL3). These loci contain pairs of MTL genes with their respective coding regions on complementary Crick and Watson DNA strands. Each pair of genes is separated by a shared intergenic promoter region, the same configuration found at the mating type loci of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Two of the MTL loci, MTL1 and MTL2, contain either the MTLa1/MTLa2 configuration or the MTLalpha1/MTLalpha2 configuration in different strains. All but one of the 38 tested C. glabrata strains were either aaalpha or aalphaalpha. One test strain was alphaalphaalpha. Based on the mating type genotype, the MTL genes at the MTL1 or MTL2 loci, and the size of the XbaI fragment harboring MTL1 or MTL2, four classes of C. glabrata strains (I, II, III, and IV) were distinguished. Northern analysis revealed that strains were either a-expressors or alpha-expressors and that expression always reflected the genotype of either the MTL1 or MTL2 locus, depending on the class. The expression pattern in each class, therefore, is similar to that observed in S. cerevisiae, which harbors two silent cassette loci, HMR and HML, and the expression locus MAT. High-frequency phenotypic switching between core phenotypes in an alpha-expressing, but not in an a-expressing, strain modulated the level of MTL expression, suggesting a possible relationship between core phenotypic switching and mating.

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