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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Sep;53(6):1625-40.

Characterization of IDI-4, a bZIP transcription factor inducing autophagy and cell death in the fungus Podospora anserina.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Champignons, Institut de Biochimie et de Génétique Cellulaires, UMR 5095 CNRS/Université de Bordeaux 2, 1 rue Camille St Saëns, 33077 Bordeaux cedex, France.


In filamentous fungi a cell death reaction occurs when hyphae of unlike genotype fuse. This phenomenon is referred to as heterokaryon incompatibility. In Podospora anserina, this cell death reaction was found to be associated with the transcriptional induction of a set of genes termed idi genes (for induced during incompatibility) and activation of autophagy. Herein, we describe the characterization of idi-4, a novel idi gene encoding a bZIP transcription factor. Expression of idi-4 is induced during cell death by incompatibility and in various stress conditions. Inactivation of idi-4 by gene replacement does not suppress incompatibility but we show that overexpression of idi-4 triggers cell death. Strains which undergo idi-4-induced cell death display cytological hallmarks of cell death by incompatibility notably induction of autophagy. We also report that increased expression of idi-4 leads to transcriptional induction of other idi genes such as idi-7, the orthologue of the yeast ATG8 autophagy gene. Together these results establish IDI-4 as one of the transcription factor regulating autophagy and cell fate in Podospora.

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