Volvariella volvacea is an important crop in Southeast Asia, but erratic fruiting presents a serious challenge for its production and breeding. Efforts to explain inconsistent fruiting have been complicated by the multinucleate nature, typical lack of clamp connections, and an incompletely identified sexual reproductive system. In this study, we addressed the life cycle of V. volvacea using whole genome sequencing, cloning of MAT loci, karyotyping of spores, and fruiting assays. Microscopy analysis of spores had previously indicated the possible coexistence of heterothallic and homothallic life cycles. Our analysis of the MAT loci showed that only MAT-A, and not MAT-B, controlled heterokaryotization. Thus, the heterothallic life cycle was bipolar. Karyotyping of single spore isolates (SSIs) using molecular markers supported the existence of heterokaryotic spores. However, most SSIs were clearly not heterokaryotic, yet contained structural variation (SV) markers relating to both alleles of both parents. Heterokaryons from crossed, self-sterile homokaryons could produce fruiting bodies, agreeing with bipolar heterothallism. Meanwhile, some SSIs with two different MAT-A loci also produced fruiting bodies, which supported secondary homothallism. Next, SSIs that clearly contained only one MAT-A locus (homothallism) were also able to fruit, demonstrating that self-fertile SSIs were not, per definition, secondary homothallic, and that a third life cycle or genetic mechanism must exist. Finally, recombination between SV markers was normal, yet 10 out of 24 SV markers showed 1:2 or 1:3 distributions in the spores, and large numbers of SSIs contained doubled SV markers. This indicated selfish genes, and possibly partial aneuploidy.
- Genomic analysis