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Fungal Genet Biol. 2010 Oct;47(10):855-68. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2010.06.010. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Genes encoding a striatin-like protein (ham-3) and a forkhead associated protein (ham-4) are required for hyphal fusion in Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, 111 Koshland Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102, United States.


Cell-cell fusion during fertilization and between somatic cells is an integral process in eukaryotic development. In Neurospora crassa, the hyphal anastomosis mutant, ham-2, fails to undergo somatic fusion. In both humans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, homologs of ham-2 are found in protein complexes that include homologs to a striatin-like protein and a forkhead-associated (FHA) protein. We identified a striatin (ham-3) gene and a FHA domain (ham-4) gene in N. crassa; strains containing mutations in ham-3 and ham-4 show severe somatic fusion defects. However, ham-3 and ham-4 mutants undergo mating-cell fusion, indicating functional differences in somatic versus sexual fusion events. The ham-2 and ham-3 mutants are female sterile, while ham-4 mutants are fertile. Homozygous crosses of ham-2, ham-3 and ham-4 mutants show aberrant meiosis and abnormally shaped ascospores. These data indicate that, similar to humans, the HAM proteins may form different signaling complexes that are important during both vegetative and sexual development in N. crassa.

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