Four mating-type genes control sexual differentiation in the fission yeast

EMBO J. 1988 May;7(5):1537-47.


The mating-type region of fission yeast consists of three components, mat1, mat2-P and mat3-M, each separated by 15 kb. Cell-type is determined by the alternate allele present at mat1, either P in an h+ or M in an h- cell. mat2-P and mat3-M serve as donors of information that is transposed to mat1 during a switch of mating type. We have determined the nucleotide sequence of each component of mat. The P and M specific regions are 1104 and 1128 bp, respectively, and bounded by sequences common to each mating-type cassette (H1; 59 bp and H2; 135 bp). A third sequence is present at mat2-P and mat3-M but absent at mat1 (H3; 57 bp), and may be involved in transcriptional repression of these cassettes. mat1-P and mat1-M each encode two genes (Pc; 118 amino acids, Pi; 159 amino acids, Mc; 181 amino acids and Mi; 42 amino acids). Introduction of opal or frame-shift mutations into the open-reading-frame of each gene revealed that Pc and Mc are necessary and sufficient for mating and confer an h+ or h- mating type respectively. All four genes are required for meiotic competence in an h+/h- diploid. The transcription of each mat gene is strongly influenced by nutritional conditions and full induction was observed only in nitrogen-free medium. The predicted product of the Pi gene contains a region of homology with the homeobox sequence, suggesting that this gene encodes a DNA binding protein that directly regulates the expression of other genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal*
  • Mating Factor
  • Meiosis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Saccharomycetales / genetics*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / growth & development
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Peptides
  • Mating Factor

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X07642
  • GENBANK/X07643
  • GENBANK/X14001
  • GENBANK/X14002