Nucleus-specific expression in the multinuclear mushroom-forming fungus Agaricus bisporus reveals different nuclear regulatory programs

Thies Gehrmann*, Jordi F. Pelkmans, Robin A. Ohm, Aurin M. Vos, Anton S.M. Sonnenberg, Johan J.P. Baars, Han A.B. Wösten, Marcel J.T. Reinders, Thomas Abeel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Many fungi are polykaryotic, containing multiple nuclei per cell. In the case of heterokaryons, there are different nuclear types within a single cell. It is unknown what the different nuclear types contribute in terms of mRNA expression levels in fungal heterokaryons. Each cell of the mushroom Agaricus bisporus contains two to 25 nuclei of two nuclear types originating from two parental strains. Using RNA-sequencing data, we assess the differential mRNA contribution of individual nuclear types and its functional impact. We studied differential expression between genes of the two nuclear types, P1 and P2, throughout mushroom development in various tissue types. P1 and P2 produced specific mRNA profiles that changed through mushroom development. Differential regulation occurred at the gene level, rather than at the locus, chromosomal, or nuclear level. P1 dominated mRNA production throughout development, and P2 showed more differentially up-regulated genes in important functional groups. In the vegetative mycelium, P2 up-regulated almost threefold more metabolism genes and carbohydrate active enzymes (cazymes) than P1, suggesting phenotypic differences in growth. We identified widespread transcriptomic variation between the nuclear types of A. bisporus. Our method enables studying nucleus-specific expression, which likely influences the phenotype of a fungus in a polykaryotic stage. Our findings have a wider impact to better understand gene regulation in fungi in a heterokaryotic state. This work provides insight into the transcriptomic variation introduced by genomic nuclear separation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4429-4434
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2018


  • fungi
  • heterokaryon
  • Nuclear-specific expression
  • quantification
  • RNA-seq


Dive into the research topics of 'Nucleus-specific expression in the multinuclear mushroom-forming fungus Agaricus bisporus reveals different nuclear regulatory programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this