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Important role of melanin for fertility in the fungus Podospora anserina

Valérie Gautier, Emilie Levert, Tatiana Giraud,
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics ; doi:10.1093/g3journal/jkab159

Abstract: Melanins are pigments used by fungi to withstand various stresses and to strengthen vegetative and reproductive structures. In Sordariales fungi, their biosynthesis starts with a condensation step catalyzed by an evolutionary-conserved polyketide synthase. Here we show that complete inactivation of this enzyme in the model ascomycete Podospora anserina through targeted deletion of the PaPks1 gene results in reduced female fertility, in contrast to a previously analyzed nonsense mutation in the same gene that retains full fertility. We also show the utility of PaPks1 mutants for detecting rare genetic events in P. anserina, such as parasexuality and possible fertilization and/or apomixis of nuclei devoid of mating-type gene.
Keywords: melanin / sexual reproduction / Podospora anserina strain S / parasexuality / mating type

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