Escape from mating-type incompatibility in bisexual (A + a) Neurospora heterokaryons

Can J Genet Cytol. 1975 Sep;17(3):441-9. doi: 10.1139/g75-058.


In Neurospora crassa, strains of opposite mating type generally do not form stable heterokaryons because the mating type locus acts as a heterokaryon incompatibility locus. However, when one A and one a strain, having complementing auxotrophic mutants, are placed together on minimal medium, growth may occur, although the growth is generally slow. In this study, escape from such slow growth to that at a wild type or near-wild type rate was observed. The escape cultures are stable heterokaryons, mostly having lost the mating type allele function from one component nucleus, so that the nuclear types are heterokaryon compatible. Either A or a mating type can be lost. This loss of function has been attributed to deletion since only one nuclear type could be recovered in all heterokaryons except one, but deletion spanning adjacent loci has been directly demonstrated in a minority of cases. Alternatively when one component strain is tol and the other tol+ (tol being a recessive mutant suppressing the heterokaryon incompatibility associated with mating type), escape may occur by the deletion or mutation of tol+, also resulting in heterokaryon compatibility. An induction mechanism for escape is speculated upon.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Cell Nucleus*
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote*
  • Mutation*
  • Neurospora / cytology*
  • Neurospora crassa / cytology*
  • Phenotype