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Fungal Genet Biol. 2011 Jul;48(7):685-95. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Development of resources for the analysis of gene function in Pucciniomycotina red yeasts.

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Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


The Pucciniomycotina is an important subphylum of basidiomycete fungi but with limited tools to analyze gene functions. Transformation protocols were established for a Sporobolomyces species (strain IAM 13481), the first Pucciniomycotina species with a completed draft genome sequence, to enable assessment of gene function through phenotypic characterization of mutant strains. Transformation markers were the URA3 and URA5 genes that enable selection and counter-selection based on uracil auxotrophy and resistance to 5-fluoroorotic acid. The wild type copies of these genes were cloned into plasmids that were used for transformation of Sporobolomyces sp. by both biolistic and Agrobacterium-mediated approaches. These resources have been deposited to be available from the Fungal Genetics Stock Center. To show that these techniques could be used to elucidate gene functions, the LEU1 gene was targeted for specific homologous replacement, and also demonstrating that this gene is required for the biosynthesis of leucine in basidiomycete fungi. T-DNA insertional mutants were isolated and further characterized, revealing insertions in genes that encode the homologs of Chs7, Erg3, Kre6, Kex1, Pik1, Sad1, Ssu1 and Tlg1. Phenotypic analysis of these mutants reveals both conserved and divergent functions compared with other fungi. Some of these strains exhibit reduced resistance to detergents, the antifungal agent fluconazole or sodium sulfite, or lower recovery from heat stress. While there are current experimental limitations for Sporobolomyces sp. such as the lack of Mendelian genetics for conventional mating, these findings demonstrate the facile nature of at least one Pucciniomycotina species for genetic manipulation and the potential to develop these organisms into new models for understanding gene function and evolution in the fungi.

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