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Fungal Genet Biol. 2012 Oct;49(10):814-24. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

The role of pheromone receptors for communication and mating in Hypocrea jecorina (Trichoderma reesei).

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Research Area Gene Technology and Applied Biochemistry, Institute of Chemical Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, 1060 Vienna, Austria.


Discovery of sexual development in the ascomycete Trichoderma reesei (Hypocrea jecorina) as well as detection of a novel class of peptide pheromone precursors in this fungus indicates promising insights into its physiology and lifestyle. Here we investigated the role of the two pheromone receptors HPR1 and HPR2 in the H. jecorina pheromone-system. We found that these pheromone receptors show an unexpectedly high genetic variability among H. jecorina strains. HPR1 and HPR2 confer female fertility in their cognate mating types (MAT1-1 or MAT1-2, respectively) and mediate induction of fruiting body development. One compatible pheromone precursor-pheromone receptor pair (hpr1-hpp1 or hpr2-ppg1) in mating partners was sufficient for sexual development. Additionally, pheromone receptors were essential for ascospore development, hence indicating their involvement in post-fertilisation events. Neither pheromone precursor genes nor pheromone receptor genes of H. jecorina were transcribed in a strictly mating type dependent manner, but showed enhanced expression levels in the cognate mating type. In the presence of a mating partner under conditions favoring sexual development, transcript levels of pheromone precursors were significantly increased, while those of pheromone receptor genes do not show this trend. In the female sterile T. reesei strain QM6a, transcriptional responses of pheromone precursor and pheromone receptor genes to a mating partner were clearly altered compared to the female fertile wild-type strain CBS999.97. Consequently, a delayed and inappropriate response to the mating partner may be one aspect causing female sterility in QM6a.

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