Social cooperation impacts the development and survival of species. In higher taxa, kin recognition occurs via visual, chemical, or tactile cues that dictate cooperative versus competitive interactions. In microbes, the outcome of cooperative versus competitive interactions is conferred by identity at allorecognition loci, so-called kind recognition. In syncytial filamentous fungi, the acquisition of multicellularity is associated with somatic cell fusion within and between colonies. However, such intraspecific cooperation entails risks, as fusion can transmit deleterious genotypes or infectious components that reduce fitness, or give rise to cheaters that can exploit communal goods without contributing to their production. Allorecognition mechanisms in syncytial fungi regulate somatic cell fusion by operating precontact during chemotropic interactions, during cell adherence, and postfusion by triggering programmed cell death reactions. Alleles at fungal allorecognition loci are highly polymorphic, fall into distinct haplogroups, and show evolutionary signatures of balancing selection, similar to allorecognition loci across the tree of life.
|Number of pages
|Annual Review of Microbiology
|Published - 2020 Sept 8
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