Send to

Choose Destination
Development. 2018 Apr 9;145(7). pii: dev162537. doi: 10.1242/dev.162537.

Evolutionary divergence of the sex-determining gene MID uncoupled from the transition to anisogamy in volvocine algae.

Author information

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63132, USA.
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63132, USA


Volvocine algae constitute a unique comparative model for investigating the evolution of oogamy from isogamous mating types. The sex- or mating type-determining gene MID encodes a conserved RWP-RK transcription factor found in either the MT- or male mating locus of dioecious volvocine species. We previously found that MID from the isogamous species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (CrMID) could not induce ectopic spermatogenesis when expressed heterologously in Volvox carteri females, suggesting coevolution of Mid function with gamete dimorphism. Here we found that ectopic expression of MID from the anisogamous species Pleodorina starrii (PsMID) could efficiently induce spermatogenesis when expressed in V. carteri females and, unexpectedly, that GpMID from the isogamous species Gonium pectorale was also able to induce V. carteri spermatogenesis. Neither VcMID nor GpMID could complement a C. reinhardtii mid mutant, at least partly owing to instability of heterologous Mid proteins. Our data show that Mid divergence was not a major contributor to the transition between isogamy and anisogamy/oogamy in volvocine algae, and instead implicate changes in cis-regulatory interactions and/or trans-acting factors of the Mid network in the evolution of sexual dimorphism.


Chlamydomonas; Gonium; Pleodorina; RWP-RK; Sex determination; Volvox

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center