What is it about?

Sexual reproduction exists in diverse forms in the fungal kingdom. Besides the traditional bisexual reproduction between mating partners of opposite mating types, the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus deneoformans can undergo unisexual reproduction in the absence of the opposite mating partner. To do so, cells must undergo ploidy duplication to enable meiosis; however, the mechanism underlying this ploidy transition is largely enigmatic. In this paper, we identified cell cycle regulators that govern ploidy duplication likely via endoreplication. To monitor ploidy status during unisexual reproduction, we generated a ploidy reporter to detect ploidy transition events. Interestingly, besides ploidy duplication, we also observed rampant formation of segmentally duplicated chromosomes, underlying the dynamic genome plasticity during unisexual reproduction.

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Why is it important?

Genome stability plays an important role in fungal evolution and environmental adaptation. Here, we developed a powerful reporter that enables detection of dynamic genomic changes, allowing future studies to characterize mechanisms governing genome stability. Particularly for human fungal pathogens, it also provides opportunities to examine the clinical implications of genome instability during infection.


This paper not only explored the molecular mechanism underlying the endoreplication pathway that enabled unisexual reproduction but also provided evidence of an understudied genome plasticity in a very deadly opportunistic human fungal pathogen.

Ci Fu

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This page is a summary of: Dynamic genome plasticity during unisexual reproduction in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus deneoformans, PLoS Genetics, November 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009935.
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