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Fungal Biol. 2013 Jun;117(6):439-50. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 May 16.

Mutualism and asexual reproduction influence recognition genes in a fungal symbiont.

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Department of Genetics, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute-FABI, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa.


Mutualism between microbes and insects is common and alignment of the reproductive interests of microbial symbionts with this lifestyle typically involves clonal reproduction and vertical transmission by insect partners. Here the Amylostereum fungus-Sirex woodwasp mutualism was used to consider whether their prolonged association and predominance of asexuality have affected the mating system of the fungal partner. Nucleotide information for the pheromone receptor gene rab1, as well as the translation elongation factor 1α gene and ribosomal RNA internal transcribed spacer region were utilized. The identification of rab1 alleles in Amylostereum chailletii and Amylostereum areolatum populations revealed that this gene is more polymorphic than the other two regions, although the diversity of all three regions was lower than what has been observed in free-living Agaricomycetes. Our data suggest that suppressed recombination might be implicated in the diversification of rab1, while no evidence of balancing selection was detected. We also detected positive selection at only two codons, suggesting that purifying selection is important for the evolution of rab1. The symbiotic relationship with their insect partners has therefore influenced the diversity of this gene and influenced the manner in which selection drives and maintains this diversity in A. areolatum and A. chailletii.

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