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Open AccessArticle

Sexual Differentiation Is Coordinately Regulated by Cryptococcus neoformans CRK1 and GAT1

Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(6), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060669
Received: 17 May 2020 / Revised: 5 June 2020 / Accepted: 16 June 2020 / Published: 19 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
The heterothallic basidiomycetous fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has two mating types, MATa and MATα. Morphological progression of bisexual reproduction in C. neoformans is as follows: yeast to hyphal transition, filament extension, basidium formation, meiosis, and sporulation. C. neoformans Cdk-related kinase 1 (CRK1) is a negative regulator of bisexual mating. In this study, we characterized the morphological features of mating structures in the crk1 mutant and determined the genetic interaction of CRK1 in the regulatory networks of sexual differentiation. In the bilateral crk1 mutant cross, despite shorter length of filaments than in the wild-type cross, dikaryotic filaments and other structures still remained intact during bisexual mating, but the timing of basidium formation was approximately 18 h earlier than in the cross between wild type strains. Furthermore, gene expression analyses revealed that CRK1 modulated the expression of genes involved in the progression of hyphal elongation, basidium formation, karyogamy and meiosis. Phenotypic results showed that, although deletion of C. neoformans CRK1 gene increased the efficiency of bisexual mating, filamentation in the crk1 mutant was blocked by MAT2 or ZNF2 mutation. A bioinformatics survey predicted the C. neoformans GATA transcriptional factor Gat1 as a potential substrate of Crk1 kinase. Our genetic and phenotypic findings revealed that C. neoformans GAT1 and CRK1 formed a regulatory circuit to negatively regulate MAT2 to control filamentation progression and transition during bisexual mating. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cryptococcus neoformans; CRK1; GAT1; bisexual mating; filament differentiation Cryptococcus neoformans; CRK1; GAT1; bisexual mating; filament differentiation
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Liu, K.-H.; Shen, W.-C. Sexual Differentiation Is Coordinately Regulated by Cryptococcus neoformans CRK1 and GAT1. Genes 2020, 11, 669.

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