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Eukaryot Cell. 2003 Jun;2(3):494-500.

Pheromone-induced G2 arrest in the phytopathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis.

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Department of Microbial Biotechnology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología CSIC, Campus de Cantoblanco-UAM, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


In the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis, pathogenic development is initiated when two compatible haploid cells fuse and form the infectious dikaryon. Mating is dependent on pheromone recognition by compatible cells. In this report, we set out to evaluate the relationship between the cell cycle and the pheromone response in U. maydis. To achieve this, we designed a haploid pheromone-responsive strain that is able to faithfully reproduce the native mating response in nutrient-rich medium. Addition of synthetic pheromone to the responsive strain induces the formation of mating structures, and this response is abolished by mutations in genes encoding components of the pheromone signal transduction cascade. After recognition of pheromone, U. maydis cells arrest the cell cycle in a postreplicative stage. Visualization of the nucleus and microtubule organization indicates that the arrest takes place at the G(2) phase. Chemical-induced cell cycle arrest and release in the presence of pheromone further support this conclusion.

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