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J Bacteriol. 1992 Dec;174(23):7831-3.

The a locus governs cytoduction in Ustilago maydis.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


We have developed a cytoduction assay to measure cell fusion quantitatively in the basidiomycete corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis. This assay employs a mutation conferring resistance to oligomycin that exhibits non-Mendelian inheritance and presumably affects the mitochondrial genome. After auxotrophic olir cells are mixed with prototrophic olis cells, prototrophic olir cells can be detected at a significant frequency after several hours of incubation, reaching a maximum of 10% of the total prototrophs in the mixture after 18 h. We demonstrate that this cell fusion event occurs only if the mating partners have different alleles of the a mating-type locus and is not influenced by the b locus. These studies support the view that the a locus but not the b locus controls establishment of the filamentous, pathogenic state.

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