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Presented by Blessing Awogbamila

Photoperiodism is the response of organisms to annual changes in day length. Photoperiodism has shown to have a significant effect on fitness of organisms in nature. However, the mechanisms of photoperiodism have not been well understood. To identify and characterize the genetic elements for photoperiodism, we chose the eukaryotic model organism Neurospora crassa. In N. crassa, the number of protoperithecia, female sexual reproductive structure, changes in response to different photoperiods. Using the protoperithecia assay (PPA), we identified multiple candidate genes involved in photoperiodism using Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis. In addition to the QTL genes, we also found that two genes, serine/threonine protein kinase (NCU00914, stk-16) and serine/threonine-protein phosphatase PP-Z (NCU07489, pzl-1) are reported to have a significant change in the number of protoperithecia in the public database, Fungi DB. Interestingly, the mutant lacking the kinase NCU00914 (FGSC #13072) showed an increased number of protoperithecia, and the mutant lacking NCU07482 (FGSC #11548) showed a decreased number of protoperithecia. Since the kinase and phosphatase are modifying proteins in an opposite fashion, it is tempting to speculate that the two enzymes may modify a common regulator in determining the number of protoperithecia in response to the photoperiodic conditions. To test the hypothesis, we performed PPA under different photoperiodic conditions, Long Day (16 hrlight: 8 hrdark, LD) and Short Day (8 hrlight: 16 hrdark, SD). Our data suggest that NCU00914 and NCU07489 play roles in the number of protoperithecia. However, they may not be involved in measuring the day length.

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