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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2008 Dec;11(6):517-24. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2008.09.014. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Orchestration of sexual reproduction and virulence by the fungal mating-type locus.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, United States.


The mating-type locus (MAT) orchestrates sexual reproduction in fungi. Sexual reproduction is related not only to fitness of an organism, but also correlated with virulence in certain pathogens. In the dandruff-associated fungus Malassesia globosa, although the sexual cycle remains to be discovered, whole genome analysis has led to the hypothesis that mating may occur on host skin. Furthermore, the MAT locus of M. globosa and U. hordei provides evidence that transitions between tetrapolar and bipolar systems have independently occurred. These results, together with studies recapitulating the ancestral tetrapolar mating system in Cryptococcus and the structure of MAT in related smut fungi, have furthered understanding on transitions between different mating systems and the evolution of MAT in the Basidiomycota.

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