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Reference: Cain CW, et al. (2012) A conserved transcriptional regulator governs fungal morphology in widely diverged species. Genetics 190(2):511-21

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Abstract

Fungi exhibit a large variety of morphological forms. Here, we examine the functions of a deeply conserved regulator of morphology in three fungal species: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans, and Histoplasma capsulatum. We show that, despite an estimated 600 million years since those species diverged from a common ancestor, Wor1 in C. albicans, Ryp1 in H. capsulatum, and Mit1 in S. cerevisiae are transcriptional regulators that recognize the same DNA sequence. Previous work established that Wor1 regulates white-opaque switching in C. albicans and that its ortholog Ryp1 regulates the yeast to mycelial transition in H. capsulatum. Here we show that the ortholog Mit1 in S. cerevisiae is also a master regulator of a morphological transition, in this case pseudohyphal growth. Full-genome chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments show that Mit1 binds to the control regions of the previously known regulators of pseudohyphal growth as well as those of many additional genes. Through a comparison of binding sites for Mit1 in S. cerevisiae, Wor1 in C. albicans, and Wor1 ectopically expressed in S. cerevisiae, we conclude that the genes controlled by the orthologous regulators overlap only slightly between these two species despite the fact that the DNA binding specificity of the regulators has remained largely unchanged. We suggest that the ancestral Wor1/Mit1/Ryp1 protein controlled aspects of cell morphology and that movement of genes in and out of the Wor1/Mit1/Ryp1 regulon is responsible, in part, for the differences of morphological forms among these species.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't | Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Authors
Cain CW, Lohse MB, Homann OR, Johnson AD
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