In the homobasidiomycete Schizophyllum commune the mating type genes of the B locus encode pheromones and pheromone receptors in multiple allelic specificities. Interaction of non-self pheromones and receptors leads to induction of B-regulated development easily scored in S. commune by the "flat" phenotype which lacks aerial mycelium formation and shows aberrant hyphal morphology. In contrast, self pheromones are not recognized and B-regulated development is not induced. Natural and mutant alleles of receptors have been analyzed for their specificity in transformation assays, and parts of the receptor involved in ligand discrimination can be described. The biological role of pheromone response in S. commune is assumed to be connected to nuclear migration based on the observation that wild-type cells with a receptor gene of different specificity lead to cells capable of nuclear uptake. Other possible roles for pheromone function are discussed.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.