Current Genetics

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 295–302 | Cite as

Characterization of mating type genes supports the hypothesis that Stagonosporopsis chrysanthemi is homothallic and provides evidence that Stagonosporopsis tanaceti is heterothallic

  • Martin I. ChilversEmail author
  • Suzanne Jones
  • Joseph Meleca
  • Tobin L. Peever
  • Sarah J. Pethybridge
  • Frank S. Hay
Research Article


To understand the organization of the mating type locus of Stagonosporopsis tanaceti and Stagonosporopsis chrysanthemi, and its potential role in the epidemiology of ray blight of pyrethrum and chrysanthemum, respectively, the mating type (MAT) locus of these species was cloned and characterized using PCR-based techniques. The complete MAT locus of each species was cloned and annotated including complete and/or partial hypothetical genes flanking the idiomorphs. Analysis of the MAT locus organization indicated that S. chrysanthemi is likely homothallic with both MAT1-2-1 and MAT1-1-1 co-located within the idiomorph, and this was supported by production of the teleomorph in cultures of single-conidial-derived isolates. Sequencing of the MAT locus and flanking genes of S. tanaceti demonstrated that only a single MAT gene, MAT1-1-1, was located within this idiomorph and suggesting that S. tanaceti is heterothallic. MAT-specific PCR primers were developed and used to determine mating type of isolates sampled from diseased pyrethrum fields in Australia. These results indicated that only one mating type of S. tanaceti was present in Tasmania, Australia. The absence of a second mating type suggests that this species does not reproduce sexually in Tasmania, Australia and that ascospores are unlikely to be a source of inoculum for ray blight of pyrethrum. The MAT-specific PCR assay will be a valuable tool to distinguish mating types present among isolates of S. tanaceti, to monitor populations of S. tanaceti for the introduction of a second mating type and to differentiate S. tanaceti from S. chrysanthemi.


Ascochyta Didymella ligulicola Heterothallic Homothallic Mating type Phoma ligulicola var. ligulicola Phoma ligulicola var. inoxydabilis Stagonosporopsis 



This project was partially supported by Michigan State University’s Project GREEEN (Grant number GR09-093) and Lyman Briggs College, Undergraduate Research Grant; and Botanical Resources Australia—Agricultural Services Pty. Ltd. We would like to thank Dr. Quan Zeng of Michigan State University for excellent technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin I. Chilvers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suzanne Jones
    • 2
  • Joseph Meleca
    • 1
  • Tobin L. Peever
    • 4
  • Sarah J. Pethybridge
    • 3
  • Frank S. Hay
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Tasmanian Institute of AgricultureUniversity of TasmaniaBurnieAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe BiologyCornell UniversityGenevaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant PathologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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