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Title: Mating-type genes and sexual potential in the ascomycete genera Aspergillus and Penicillium
Author: Eagle, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 7811
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2009
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Mating-type and other ‘sex-related’ genes in the filamentous ascomcyete genera Aspergillus and Penicillium, were examined to investigate the potential sexual capacity of supposedly asexual species and also the possible evolutionary route and ancestry of mating strategy and mating-type genes. Two heterothallic and one homothallic sexual species were screened to determine the presence and genomic organisation of mating-type genes. An additional gene has previously been detected in Neosartorya fischeri, N. fumigata and Penicillium marneffei. This gene was also detected and sequenced in the heterothallic species, Emericella heterothallica and the homothallic species, Eurotium repens. The expression of this gene was investigated under conditions that cause expression of mating-type genes in these species. Mating-type and other ‘sex-related’ genes were investigated in asexual Aspergilli that have been genome sequenced. Expression of mating-type, α-factor pheromone precursor, pheromone receptor and two transcription factor encoding genes were also investigated. Gene expression varied between species, but no genes displayed mating type-dependent expression. Previous studies had developed a degenerate PCR diagnostic approach to identify putative MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 gene fragments. This degenerate PCR diagnostic was performed on Penicillium species in the subgenus Penicillium to determine the presence or absence of mating-type genes. Mating-type gene fragments or whole open reading frames were sequenced from four of these Penicillium species. RT-PCR analyses were also performed on these species, and MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 gene expression was confirmed in three of the four Penicillium species. The overall structure of the mating-type loci and idiomorphs of the Aspergillus and Penicillium species revealed certain common features. The ancestral mating strategy of the Eurotiomycetes has been suggested to be homothallism. Whilst this remains possible, alternative evolutionary scenarios are suggested from this investigation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QW Microbiology. Immunology