Eupenicillium species are the teleomorphic (sexual) forms of anamorphic (asexual) members of the genus Penicillium, which contains many species of industrial importance. Here we describe the first molecular analysis of the mating-type (MAT) locus from a homothallic (self-fertile) Eupenicillium species, E. crustaceum. This ascomycete is a sexual relative of the penicillin producer Penicillium chrysogenum, which while long considered asexual, was recently shown to possess the required genetic machinery for heterothallic breeding. The E. crustaceum genome contains two MAT loci, MAT1-1 and MAT1-2, in an arrangement characteristic of other known homothallic euascomycetes, such as Neosartorya fischeri. MAT1-1 is flanked by conserved APN2 (DNA lyase) and SLA2 (cytoskeleton assembly control) genes and encodes a homologue of the α-box domain protein MAT1-1-1. Conversely, MAT1-2 carries a HMG-domain gene MAT1-2-1, and is flanked by a degenerate SLA2 gene and an intact homologue of the P. chrysogenum ORF Pc20g08960. Here we demonstrate the transcriptional expression of both mating-type genes during vegetative development. Furthermore, the MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 sequences were used to resolve the phylogenetic relationship of E. crustaceum with other ascomycetes. Phylogenetic trees confirmed a very close relationship between the homothallic E. crustaceum and the supposedly heterothallic P. chrysogenum. This close taxonomic association makes E. crustaceum an ideal candidate for future expression and evolutionary studies of sexual reproduction, with the ultimate aim of inducing sex in P. chrysogenum.
Copyright © 2011 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.