To resolve the role of male and female nuclei and mitochondria in cleistothecium formation in the model organism Aspergillus nidulans, we analysed the genetic constituents of cleistothecia, from crosses between vegetatively compatible and incompatible parents. We used markers that enabled us to determine the nuclear genotype of the cleistothecial wall and the nuclear and mitochondrial genotype of the ascospores. In compatible parents, nuclear genomes and cytoplasm usually mix in the vegetative hyphae prior to the formation of the sexual stage after which any cleistothecial composition is possible. In incompatible parents, the maternal strain contributes the nuclei for the cleistothecial wall and one nucleus as well as mitochondria for the ascospore origin. The paternal strain donates one nucleus for the ascospore origin. Only in crosses between vegetatively incompatible partners, it is possible to assign a female and male role to the parental strains. Our results confirm that the vegetative heterokaryotic stage is not a prerequisite for cleistothecium formation. Using this tool, we analysed sexual sporulation mutants for male or female sterility. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
- heterokaryon incompatibility