Investigation of gene regulatory networks underlying pattern formation in Coprinopsis cinerea
Hongli Wu, Xiao-Bin Liu, Máté Virágh, Zhihao Hou, Zsolt Merényi, Botond Hegedüs, László G. Nagy*
Institute of Biochemistry Biological Research Center, Szeged, Hungary
Complex multicellular organisms are subject to intense research, and they are dominating the visible world. The development of morphological patterns of multicellular organisms has been well-elucidated in plants and animals while less effort has been put into morphologically diverse fungi. Pileus development in mushrooms is a spectacular and widely known pattern formation mechanism. Here, we identified a conserved transcription factor cpl1 which we show is a key regulator of pileus development in Coprinopsis cinerea. The cpl1 gene is highly expressed in the pileus in C. cinerea. Knocking out cpl1 in C. cinerea caused an abolishment of pileus development. Preliminary phenotyping of a mutant ectopically expressing the cpl1 gene under both a heat shock gene promoter and a stipe-specific gene promoter resulted in the successful restoration of pileus development. However, distinct pileus shapes and sizes were observed, indicating that the expression level of the cpl1 gene plays a crucial role in modulating pileus morphology. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that some pileus-enhanced genes identified by tissue-specific transcriptomics in C. cinerea were significantly down-regulated in the cpl1 mutant. Cpl1 orthologs are found in many mushroom-forming fungi and similar expression patterns were observed in six species. Our results suggest that cpl1 plays a vital role in pileus development in C. cinerea. This result could lead us to unveil the genetic mechanisms of pattern formation in fungi.