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Genetics. 2013 Sep;195(1):47-57. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.152231. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

A DNA damage checkpoint pathway coordinates the division of dikaryotic cells in the ink cap mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea.

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Instituto de Biología Funcional y Genómica, Universidad de Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain.


The fungal fruiting body or mushroom is a multicellular structure essential for sexual reproduction. It is composed of dikaryotic cells that contain one haploid nucleus from each mating partner sharing the same cytoplasm without undergoing nuclear fusion. In the mushroom, the pileus bears the hymenium, a layer of cells that includes the specialized basidia in which nuclear fusion, meiosis, and sporulation occur. Coprinopsis cinerea is a well-known model fungus used to study developmental processes associated with the formation of the fruiting body. Here we describe that knocking down the expression of Atr1 and Chk1, two kinases shown to be involved in the response to DNA damage in a number of eukaryotic organisms, dramatically impairs the ability to develop fruiting bodies in C. cinerea, as well as other developmental decisions such as sclerotia formation. These developmental defects correlated with the impairment in silenced strains to sustain an appropriated dikaryotic cell cycle. Dikaryotic cells in which chk1 or atr1 genes were silenced displayed a higher level of asynchronous mitosis and as a consequence aberrant cells carrying an unbalanced dose of nuclei. Since fruiting body initiation is dependent on the balanced mating-type regulator doses present in the dikaryon, we believe that the observed developmental defects were a consequence of the impaired cell cycle in the dikaryon. Our results suggest a connection between the DNA damage response cascade, cell cycle regulation, and developmental processes in this fungus.


Coprinopsis cinerea; DNA damage response (DDR); cell cycle; dikaryon; mushroom development

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