Feb 28, 2019

Combinations of Spok genes create multiple meiotic drivers in Podospora

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Aaron A. VoganHanna Johannesson


Meiotic drive is the preferential transmission of a particular allele at a given locus during sexual reproduction. The phenomenon is observed as spore killing in a variety of fungal lineages, including Podospora. In natural populations of Podospora anserina, seven spore killers (Psks) have been identified through classical genetic analyses. Here we show that the Spok gene family underlie the Psk spore killers. The combination of the various Spok genes at different chromosomal locations defines the spore killers and creates a killing hierarchy within the same population. We identify two novel Spok homologs that are located within a complex region (the Spok block) that reside in different chromosomal locations in given natural strains. We confirm that the individual SPOK proteins perform both the killing and resistance functions and show that these activities are dependent on distinct domains, a nuclease and a kinase domain respectively. Genomic data and phylogenetic analysis across ascomycetes suggest that the Spok genes disperse via cross-species transfer, and evolve by duplication and diversification within several lineages.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Meiotic Cell Cycle
Sexual Reproduction
Phylogenetic Analysis
Cross Reactions
Spores, Fungal
Disease Transmission

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