Quantifying functional heterothallism in the pseudohomothallic ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma
2012 (English)In: Fungal Biology, ISSN 1878-6146, Vol. 116, no 9, 962-975 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Neurospora tetrasperma is a pseudohomothallic filamentous ascomycete that has evolved from heterothallic ancestors. Throughout its life cycle, it is predominantly heterokaryotic for mating type, and thereby self-fertile. However, studies of N. tetrasperma have revealed the occasional production of self-sterile asexual and sexual spores of a single-mating type, indicating that it can be functionally heterothallic. Here, we report the extensive sampling and isolation of natural, heterokaryotic, strains of N. tetrasperma from the United Kingdom (UK): 99 strains were collected from Surrey, England, and four from Edinburgh, Scotland. We verified by phylogenetic analyses that these strains belong to N. tetrasperma. We isolated cultures from single germinated asexual spores (conidia) from 17 of these newly sampled UK strains from Surrey, and 16 previously sampled strains of N. tetrasperma from New Zealand (NZ). Our results show that the N. tetrasperrna strains from the UK population produced a significantly greater proportion of self-sterile, homokaryotic conidia than the NZ population: the proportion of homokaryotic conidia was 42.6 % (133/312 spores) and 15.3 % (59/386) from the UK and the NZ populations, respectively. Although homokaryons recovered from several strains show a bias for one of the mating types, the total ratio of mat A to mat a mating type in homokaryons (UK: 72/61, NZ 28/31) did not deviate significantly from the expected 1:1 ratio for either of these populations. These results indicate that different populations exhibit differences in their life cycle characteristics, and that a higher degree of outcrossing might be expected from the UK population. This study points to the importance of studying multiple strains and populations when investigating life history traits of an organism with a complex life cycle, as previously undetected differences between populations may be revealed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 116, no 9, 962-975 p.
Conidia, Heterothallism, Neurospora tetrasperma, Outcrossing, Populations, Pseudohomothallism
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-185648DOI: 10.1016/j.funbio.2012.06.006ISI: 000310038800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-185648DiVA: diva2:572318