Zygomycetes, microsporidia, and the evolutionary ancestry of sex determination

Genome Biology and Evolution
Tina Koestler, Ingo Ebersberger


Zygomycetes and their alleged sister taxon, the microsporidia, exclusively share the presence of a cluster of three genes encoding a sugar transporter, a high mobility group (HMG)-type transcription factor, and an RNA helicase. In zygomycetes, the HMG-type transcription factor acts as the sole sex determinant. This intimately ties the evolutionary history of this gene cluster to the evolution of sex determination. Here, we have unraveled the relationships of the two gene clusters by vicariously analyzing the sugar transporters and the RNA helicases. We show that if the two gene clusters share a common ancestry, it dates back to the early days of eukaryotic evolution. As a consequence, the zygomycete MAT locus would be old enough to represent the archetype of fungal and animal sex determination. However, the evolutionary scenario that has to be invoked is complex. An independent assembly of the two clusters deserves therefore consideration. In either case, shared ancestry or convergent evolution, the presence of the gene cluster in microsporidia and in zygomycetes represents at best a plesiomorphy. Hence, it is not phylogenetically informative. A further genome-wide reanalysis of gene order conservation reveals that gene order i...Continue Reading


Dec 4, 1986·Nature·T Cavalier-Smith
Feb 1, 1993·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·C M HaqqM A Weiss
Feb 3, 1999·Annual Review of Genetics·J E Haber
Feb 10, 2000·Molecular Biology and Evolution·P J KeelingJ D Palmer
Mar 14, 2001·Trends in Biochemical Sciences·J O Thomas, A A Travers
Dec 18, 2001·Journal of Molecular Biology·M RemmE L Sonnhammer
Feb 12, 2002·Nature Reviews. Genetics·Willie J Swanson, Victor D Vacquier
Apr 5, 2002·Genome Research·W James Kent
Nov 29, 2002·Eukaryotic Cell·Klaus B LengelerJoseph Heitman
Jan 23, 2004·BMC Bioinformatics·Benjamin Schuster-BöcklerSven Rahmann
Jan 28, 2004·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Geraldine ButlerKenneth H Wolfe
Mar 12, 2004·Molecular Biology and Evolution·Nicolas Lartillot, Hervé Philippe
Jan 22, 2005·Nucleic Acids Research·Kazutaka KatohTakashi Miyata
Oct 26, 2005·Systematic Biology·Henner BrinkmannHervé Philippe
Oct 20, 2006·Nature·Timothy Y JamesRytas Vilgalys
Dec 7, 2007·Nucleic Acids Research·Ann-Charlotte BerglundErik L L Sonnhammer
Jan 11, 2008·Nature·Alexander IdnurmJoseph Heitman
Mar 13, 2008·Current Biology : CB·Paul S Dyer
Nov 4, 2008·Current Biology : CB·Soo Chan LeeJoseph Heitman
Nov 4, 2008·Nucleic Acids Research·Ivica LetunicPeer Bork
Nov 13, 2008·Current Biology : CB·Paul S Dyer
Sep 26, 2009·PLoS Pathogens·Patrick Keeling
May 29, 2010·Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews : MMBR·Soo Chan LeeJoseph Heitman
Aug 11, 2010·BMC Bioinformatics·Tina KoestlerIngo Ebersberger

❮ Previous
Next ❯


Oct 5, 2011·Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia·Ruth N ZadoksYnte H Schukken
Nov 17, 2011·BMC Evolutionary Biology·Satoshi SekimotoMary L Berbee
Jun 2, 2012·BMC Biology·Salvador Capella-GutiérrezToni Gabaldón
Mar 22, 2014·Parasitology Research·Daniele CorsaroRolf Michel
Nov 25, 2011·Molecular Biology and Evolution·Ingo EbersbergerArndt von Haeseler
Nov 10, 2012·Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences·Maureen A O'Malley
May 5, 2012·Revista iberoamericana de micología·Griselda TorresFernando J Bornay-Llinares
Nov 28, 2012·Journal of Invertebrate Pathology·Xiaoqun DangZeyang Zhou

❮ Previous
Next ❯

Datasets Mentioned


Software Mentioned


Related Concepts

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.


Blastomycosis fungal infections spread through inhaling Blastomyces dermatitidis spores. Discover the latest research on blastomycosis fungal infections here.

Nuclear Pore Complex in ALS/FTD

Alterations in nucleocytoplasmic transport, controlled by the nuclear pore complex, may be involved in the pathomechanism underlying multiple neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia. Here is the latest research on the nuclear pore complex in ALS and FTD.

Applications of Molecular Barcoding

The concept of molecular barcoding is that each original DNA or RNA molecule is attached to a unique sequence barcode. Sequence reads having different barcodes represent different original molecules, while sequence reads having the same barcode are results of PCR duplication from one original molecule. Discover the latest research on molecular barcoding here.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Evolution of Pluripotency

Pluripotency refers to the ability of a cell to develop into three primary germ cell layers of the embryo. This feed focuses on the mechanisms that underlie the evolution of pluripotency. Here is the latest research.

Position Effect Variegation

Position Effect Variagation occurs when a gene is inactivated due to its positioning near heterochromatic regions within a chromosome. Discover the latest research on Position Effect Variagation here.

STING Receptor Agonists

Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) are a group of transmembrane proteins that are involved in the induction of type I interferon that is important in the innate immune response. The stimulation of STING has been an active area of research in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Here is the latest research on STING receptor agonists.


Microbicides are products that can be applied to vaginal or rectal mucosal surfaces with the goal of preventing, or at least significantly reducing, the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Here is the latest research on microbicides.