Author(s): Solieri L, Dakal TC, Giudici P, Cassanelli S
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Abstract Sexual reproduction and breeding systems are driving forces for genetic diversity. The mating-type (MAT) locus represents a mutation and chromosome rearrangement hotspot in yeasts. Zygosaccharomyces rouxii complex yeasts are naturally faced with hostile low water activity (aw) environments and are characterized by gene copy number variation, genome instability, and aneuploidy/allodiploidy. Here, we investigated sex-determination system in Zygosaccharomyces sapae diploid strain ABT301(T), a member of the Z. rouxii complex. We cloned three divergent mating type-like (MTL) α-idiomorph sequences and designated them as ZsMTLα copies 1, 2, and 3. They encode homologs of Z. rouxii CBS 732(T) MATα2 (amino acid sequence identities spanning from 67.0 to 99.5\%) and MATα1 (identity range 81.5-99.5\%). ABT301(T) possesses two divergent HO genes encoding distinct endonucleases 100\% and 92.3\% identical to Z. rouxii HO. Cloning of MATA: -idiomorph resulted in a single ZsMTLA: locus encoding two Z. rouxii-like proteins MATA: 1 and MATA: 2. To assign the cloned ZsMTLα and ZsMTLA: idiomorphs as MAT, HML, and HMR cassettes, we analyzed their flanking regions. Three ZsMTLα loci exhibited the DIC1-MAT-SLA2 gene order canonical for MAT expression loci. Furthermore, four putative HML cassettes were identified, two containing the ZsMTLα copy 1 and the remaining harboring ZsMTLα copies 2 and 3. Finally, the ZsMTLA: locus was 3'-flanked by SLA2, suggesting the status of MAT expression locus. In conclusion, Z. sapae ABT301(T) displays an aααα genotype missing of the HMR silent cassette. Our results demonstrated that mating-type switching is a hypermutagenic process in Z. rouxii complex that generates genetic diversity de novo. This error-prone mechanism could be suitable to generate progenies more rapidly adaptable to hostile environments. Copyright © 2014 Solieri et al.
This article was published in G3 (Bethesda)
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology