Mating-type (MAT) loci were cloned from two asexual (mitosporic) phytopathogenic ascomycetes, Fusarium oxysporum (a pyrenomycete) and Alternaria alternata (a loculoascomycete), by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based strategy. The conserved high mobility group (HMG) box domain found in the MAT1-2-1 protein was used as a starting point for cloning and sequencing the entire MAT1-2 idiomorph plus flanking regions. Primer pairs designed to both flanking regions were used to amplify the opposite MAT1-1 idiomorph. The MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 idiomorphs were approximately 4.6 and 3.8 kb in F. oxysporum and approximately 1.9 and 2.2 kb in A. alternata, respectively. In both species, the MAT1-1 idiomorph contains at least one gene that encodes a protein with a putative alpha box domain and the MAT1-2 idiomorph contains one gene that encodes a protein with a putative HMG box domain. MAT-specific primers were used to assess the mating type of F. oxysporum and A. alternata field isolates by PCR. MAT genes from A. alternata were expressed. The A. alternata genes were confirmed to be functional in a close sexual relative, Cochliobolus heterostrophus, by heterologous expression.
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