The putative Cryptococcus neoformans pheromone receptor gene CPRα was isolated and studied for its role in mating and filamentation. CPRα is MATα specific and located adjacent to STE12α at the MATα locus. It encodes a protein which possesses high sequence similarity to the seven-transmembrane class of G-protein-coupled pheromone receptors reported for other basidiomycetous fungi. Strains containing a deletion of the CPRα gene exhibited drastic reductions in mating efficiency but were not completely sterile. Δcprα cells displayed wild-type mating efficiency when reconstituted with the wild-type CPRα gene. Hyphal production on filament agar was not affected in the Δcprα strain, indicating no significant role for CPRα in sensing environmental cues during haploid fruiting. The wild-type MATα CPRα strain produced abundant hyphae in response to synthetic MATa pheromone; however, the hyphal response to pheromone by Δcprα cells was significantly reduced. Exposure of wild-type cells to synthetic MATa pheromone for 2 h induced MFα pheromone expression, whereas unexposed cells showed only basal levels of the MFα transcript. The Δcprα cells, however, exhibited only basal levels of MFα message with or without pheromone exposure, suggesting that CPRα and MFα are components of the same signaling pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology