Growth and macromolecular synthesis phenotypes of a heat-sensitive mutant strain, rip-1, of Neurospora crassa
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A heat-sensitive mutant of Neurospora crassa, strain 4M(t), was isolated using ultraviolet-light mutagenesis followed by the inositol-less death enrichment technique. The heat-sensitivity is the result of a single gene mutation which maps to the distal end of the right arm of linkage group II. The mutation defines the rip-1 gene locus. Both conidial germination and mycelial extension are inhibited in the mutant at 35°C and above (the nonpermissive temperature) but prolonged incubation at that temperature is not lethal to either cell type. Analysis of the lateral mycelial growth rates of wild type and of the rip-1 mutant at a variety of temperatures between 10 and 40°C indicated that the maximal growth rate occurs at 35°C in the wild type, and at 25°C in the rip-1 strain. The rip-1 mutant grows 239-times slower at 35°C than at 25°C, whereas the wild type grows 1.4-times faster. Temperature shift-up experiments showed that even 3 h at 20°C is not sufficient to allow germination at 37°C, thereby showing that the mutant cannot accumulate enough heat-sensitive product at the permissive temperature to contribute to germination at 37°C. The reciprocal temperature shift-down experiments showed that the molecular events at 37°C may be qualitatively useful for germination after shifting to 20°C. Studies of macromolecular synthesis showed that the biochemical defect in the heat-sensitive strain appears to affect RNA synthesis before protein synthesis, although there were differences in the relative effects depending on the age of the germinating conidia and the inhibition of the two processes was never complete. Messenger RNA synthesis is normal in the mutant at 37°C. Previous work has shown that the rip-1 mutant strain has a conditional defect in the accumulation of 25S rRNA and, hence, in 60S ribosomal subunit production (Loo et al. 1981). There are also indications from those studies that the 60S ribosomal subunit may be functionally impaired at the higher temperature. Thus, the growth and macromolecular synthesis phenotypes may result as a consequence of a conditional, ribosome function defect and leads to the hypothesis that the mutation in the rip-1 strain may be in a gene for a 60S ribosomal subunit component, perhaps a ribosomal protein.
KeywordsNeurospora Crassa Conidial Germination Nonpermissive Temperature Single Gene Mutation Function Defect
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