Monokaryons of Coprinus cinereus constitutively form small spores (oidia) in the aerial mycelium. Some strains also produce large, inflated single cells (chlamydospores) at the agar/air interface, and hyphal aggregates (hyphal knots) that can develop into sclerotia. Monokaryons show various reactions upon transformation with heterologous A mating type genes. Production of oidia in such A-activated transformants is repressed in the dark and induced by blue light. Five of six monokaryons tested following transformation with A genes showed induced production of hyphal knots and sclerotia in the dark, and at least three strains showed enhanced chlamydospore production in the dark. Continuous incubation under blue light inhibited formation of hyphal knots, sclerotia and chlamydospores in both competent monokaryons and in A-activated transformants. On artificial medium and on a 12 h light/12 h dark regime, A-activated transformants of one distinct monokaryon (218) formed fruit-body primordia that were arrested in development before karyogamy. Our studies show that A mating type genes control all major differentiation processes in Coprinus, but whether developmental processes can proceed depends on the genetic background of the strain.