13 The Mating-Type Genes of the Basidiomycetes

  • Daniela Freihorst
  • Thomas J. Fowler
  • Kirk Bartholomew
  • Marjatta Raudaskoski
  • J. Stephen Horton
  • Erika KotheEmail author
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume I)


Basidiomycete mating-type genes are encoded by two different factors resulting in a tetrapolar mating system where a cross can lead to one of four different reactions, only one of which results in a fertile state. Pairs of homeodomain transcription factors termed HD1 and HD2 classes constitute one factor (b genes in the smut fungi, A genes in the hymenomycete basidiomycetes). With the evolution of basidiomycetes, pheromone/receptor (P/R) systems (a genes in smut fungi and B genes in hymenomycetes) were co-opted to become independent master regulators constituting the second factor. Subsequently, the two sets of genes underwent evolutionary radiation with duplications, inversions and gene shuffling leading to the development of multiallelic HD and P/R systems, each functioning independently of the other. The multiallelic loci each developed many allelic specificities, resulting in tens of thousands of potential mating types for some species. An additional complexity of receptor gene homologues directly involved in mate discrimination has been revealed with the ready availability of genome sequences. Using examples derived from some model species, the molecular nature of the mating-type genes, the evolution of multiallelic and multispecific mating-type loci and the potential roles of newly detected receptor-like genes are discussed.


Mating Type Pheromone Receptor Pheromone Response Mating Receptor CAAX Motif 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors very much appreciate the comments and help regarding MrBayes/phylogenetic analysis of Dr. M. Gube and D. Sammer, and we also thank the latter for providing protein data on T. vaccinum. We also would like to gratefully acknowledge the Graduate School JSMC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Freihorst
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Fowler
    • 2
  • Kirk Bartholomew
    • 3
  • Marjatta Raudaskoski
    • 4
  • J. Stephen Horton
    • 5
  • Erika Kothe
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Microbiology, Microbial Communication, Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesSouthern Illinois University EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologySacred Heart UniversityFairfieldUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biochemistry, Plant Molecular BiologyUniversity of Turku, Biocity ATykistök. 6AFinland
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesUnion College, Peter Irving Wold CenterSchenectadyUSA

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