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MRP3 is a sex determining gene in the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata
Russo, M.T.; Vitale, L.; Entrambasaguas, L.; Anestis, K.; Fattorini, N.; Romano, F.; Minucci, C.; De Luca, P.; Biffali, E.; Vyverman, W.; Sanges, R.; Montresor, M.; Ferrante, M.I. (2018). MRP3 is a sex determining gene in the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata. Nature Comm. 9: 10.
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723; e-ISSN 2041-1723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Russo, M.T.
  • Vitale, L.
  • Entrambasaguas, L.
  • Anestis, K.
  • Fattorini, N.
  • Romano, F.
  • Minucci, C.
  • De Luca, P.
  • Biffali, E.
  • Vyverman, W., more
  • Sanges, R.
  • Montresor, M., more
  • Ferrante, M.I.

    A broad diversity of sex-determining systems has evolved in eukaryotes. However, information on the mechanisms of sex determination for unicellular microalgae is limited, including for diatoms, key-players of ocean food webs. Here we report the identification of a mating type (MT) determining gene for the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multistriata. By comparing the expression profile of the two MTs, we find five MT-biased genes, of which one, MRP3, is expressed exclusively in MT+ strains in a monoallelic manner. A short tandem repeat of specific length in the region upstream of MRP3 is consistently present in MT+ and absent in MT− strains. MRP3 overexpression in an MT− strain induces sex reversal: the transgenic MT− can mate with another MT− strain and displays altered regulation of the other MT-biased genes, indicating that they lie downstream. Our data show that a relatively simple genetic program is involved in defining the MT in P. multistriata.

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