Gene transfer to yeast and fungi

Intriguing recent work has extended the host range of A. tumefaciens beyond the plant kingdom to include budding and fission yeast and many species of filamentous fungi. The successful transfer of DNA to yeast depends on the presence of stabilizing sequences, such as a yeast origin of replication sequence or a telomere, or regions of homology between the transferred DNA and the yeast genome for integration by homologous recombination. When the T-DNA lacks any extensive regions of homology with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome, it integrates at random positions by illegitimate recombination reminiscent of T-DNA integration in plants (see Section IV.C.2). The transformation of filamentous fungi with A. tumefaciens is an exciting advancement. Agrobacterium tumefaciens was shown to efficiently deliver DNA to fungal protoplasts and fungal conidia and hyphal tissue. This discovery extends well beyond academic interest because the simplicity and high efficiency make this gene delivery system an extremely useful tool for the genetic manipulation and characterization of fungi. This DNA transfer system is especially valuable for species such as the mushroom Agaricus bisporus which are recalcitrant to transformation by other methods. It is also of interest to consider that both A. tumefaciens and many fungal species exist in the same soil environment, raising the possibility that A. tumefaciens-mediated gene transfer to fungi may not be restricted solely to the laboratory bench.

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