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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22249. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022249. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Comparative genomics of the mating-type loci of the mushroom Flammulina velutipes reveals widespread synteny and recent inversions.

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Mushroom Research Division, National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon, Republic of Korea.



Mating-type loci of mushroom fungi contain master regulatory genes that control recognition between compatible nuclei, maintenance of compatible nuclei as heterokaryons, and fruiting body development. Regions near mating-type loci in fungi often show adapted recombination, facilitating the generation of novel mating types and reducing the production of self-compatible mating types. Compared to other fungi, mushroom fungi have complex mating-type systems, showing both loci with redundant function (subloci) and subloci with many alleles. The genomic organization of mating-type loci has been solved in very few mushroom species, which complicates proper interpretation of mating-type evolution and use of those genes in breeding programs.


We report a complete genetic structure of the mating-type loci from the tetrapolar, edible mushroom Flammulina velutipes mating type A3B3. Two matB3 subloci, matB3a that contains a unique pheromone and matB3b, were mapped 177 Kb apart on scaffold 1. The matA locus of F. velutipes contains three homeodomain genes distributed over 73 Kb distant matA3a and matA3b subloci. The conserved matA region in Agaricales approaches 350 Kb and contains conserved recombination hotspots showing major rearrangements in F. velutipes and Schizophyllum commune. Important evolutionary differences were indicated; separation of the matA subloci in F. velutipes was diverged from the Coprinopsis cinerea arrangement via two large inversions whereas separation in S. commune emerged through transposition of gene clusters.


In our study we determined that the Agaricales have very large scale synteny at matA (∼350 Kb) and that this synteny is maintained even when parts of this region are separated through chromosomal rearrangements. Four conserved recombination hotspots allow reshuffling of large fragments of this region. Next to this, it was revealed that large distance subloci can exist in matB as well. Finally, the genes that were linked to specific mating types will serve as molecular markers in breeding.

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