During ascogenesis in Neurospora, the ascospores are partitioned at the eight-nucleus stage that follows meiosis and apost-meiotic mitosis, and the ascospores that form in eight-spored asci are usually homokaryotic. We had previouslycreated novel TNt strains by introgressing four Neurospora crassa insertional translocations (EB4, IBj5, UK14-1, andB362i) into N. tetrasperma. We now show that crosses of all the TNt strains with single-mating-type derivatives of thestandard N. tetrasperma pseudohomothallic strain 85 (viz. TNta × 85A or TNtA × 85a) can produce rare eight-sporedasci that contain heterokaryotic ascospores, or ascospores with other unexpected genotypes. Our results suggest thatthese rare asci result from the interposition of additional mitoses between the post-meiotic mitosis and the partitioningof nuclei into ascospores, leading to the formation of supernumerary nuclei that then generate the heterokaryoticascospores. The rare asci probably represent a background level of ascus dysgenesis wherein the partitioning ofascospores becomes uncoupled from the post-meiotic mitosis. Ordinarily, the severest effect of such dysgenesis, theproduction of mating-type heterokaryons, would be suppressed by the N. crassa tol (tolerant) gene, thus explainingwhy such dysgenesis remained undetected thus far.
Volume 45, 2020
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