, Volume 247, Issue 2, pp 169-179

Pathway analysis of radiation-sensitive meiotic mutants ofCoprinus cinereus

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We have isolated 37 radiation-sensitive mutants of the basidiomyceteCoprinus cinereus. Each mutation is recessive, and the collection defines at least ten complementation groups for survival of gamma irradiation. Four complementation groups define the genesrad3, rad9, rad11 andrad12, which are required both for survival of gamma irradiation and for meiosis. Mutants in each of these four groups fail to complete meiosis and produce mushrooms with greatly reduced numbers of viable spores. Propidium iodide staining of meiotic nuclei showed a characteristic terminal appearance for each mutant: few cells of any of the meiotic mutants progress beyond prophase I, and both condensation and fragmentation or dispersal of meiotic chromatin are frequently observed. Scanning electron micrographs showed that the meiotic mutants make varying numbers (0–6) of basidiospore initials and that few of these initials develop into mature spores. When initials are present they are always symmetrically arrayed on the basidium, regardless of initial number. In quantitative measurements of gamma ray sensitivity, double mutants of every tested combination ofrad3, rad9, rad11 andrad12 consistently showed the same gamma ray sensitivity as the more sensitive single mutant parent of the cross. Therefore, these four genes are in the same pathway for the repair of gamma radiation damage, and this pathway also represents one or more functions essential for meiosis.

Communicated by B. Judd