Evolutionary dynamics of mating-type loci of Mycosphaerella spp. occurring on banana

M. Arzanlou, P.W. Crous, L.H. Zwiers

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The devastating Sigatoka disease complex of banana is primarily caused by three closely related heterothallic fungi belonging to the genus Mycosphaerella: M. fijiensis, M. musicola, and M. eumusae. Previous phylogenetic work showing common ancestry led us to analyze the mating-type loci of these Mycosphaerella species occurring on banana. We reasoned that this might provide better insight into the evolutionary history of these species. PCR and chromosome-walking approaches were used to clone the mating-type loci of M. musicola and M. eumusae. Sequences were compared to the published mating-type loci of M. fijiensis and other Mycosphaerella spp., and a novel organization of the MAT loci was found. The mating-type loci of the examined Mycosphaerella species are expanded, containing two additional Mycosphaerella-specific genes in a unique genomic organization. The proteins encoded by these novel genes show a higher interspecies than intraspecies homology. Moreover, M. fijiensis, M. musicola, and M. eumusae contain two additional mating-type-like loci, containing parts of both MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1. The data indicate that M. fijiensis, M. musicola, and M. eumusae share an ancestor in which a fusion event occurred between MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 sequences and in which additional genes became incorporated into the idiomorph. The new genes incorporated have since then evolved independently in the MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 loci. Thus, these data are an example of the evolutionary dynamics of fungal MAT loci in general and show the great flexibility of the MAT loci of Mycosphaerella species in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
JournalEukaryotic Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • pathogen septoria-passerinii
  • cochliobolus-heterostrophus
  • sex-chromosomes
  • causal agent
  • leaf-spot
  • disease
  • cloning
  • genes
  • idiomorphs
  • teleomorph


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