Nonself recognition is mediated by HET-C heterocomplex formation during vegetative incompatibility

Sovan Sarkar, Gopal Iyer, Jennifer Wu, N. Louise Glass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Nonself recognition during vegetative growth in filamentous fungi is mediated by heterokaryon incompatibility (het) loci. In Neurospora crassa, het-c is one of 11 het loci. Three allelic specificity groups, termed het-cOR, het-cPA and het-cGR, exist in natural populations. Heterokaryons or partial diploids that contain het-c alleles of alternative specificity show severe growth inhibition, repression of conidiation and hyphal compartmentation and death (HCD). Using epitope-tagged HET-C, we show that nonself recognition is mediated by the presence of a heterocomplex composed of polypeptides encoded by het-c alleles of alternative specificity. The HET-C heterocomplex localized to the plasma membrane (PM); PM-bound HET-C heterocomplexes occurred in all three het-c incompatible allelic interactions. Strains containing het-c constructs deleted for a predicted signal peptide sequence formed HET-C heterocomplexes in the cytoplasm and showed a growth arrest phenotype. Our finding is a step towards understanding nonself recognition mechanisms that operate during vegetative growth in filamentous fungi, and provides a model for investigating relationships between recognition mechanisms and cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4841-4850
Number of pages10
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 16 2002


  • Neurospora crassa
  • Nonself recognition
  • Protein targeting
  • Vegetative incompatibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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