Cloning and expression of the S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase gene of Neurospora crassa and processing of its product
We cloned the beta-tubulin gene of Neurospora crassa from a benomyl-resistant strain and determined its nucleotide sequence. The gene encodes a 447-residue protein which shows strong homology to other beta-tubulins. The coding region is interrupted by six introns, five of which are within the region coding for the first 54 amino acids of the protein. Intron position comparisons between the N. crassa gene and other fungal beta-tubulin genes reveal considerable positional conservation. The mutation responsible for benomyl resistance was determined; it caused a phenylalanine-to-tyrosine change at position 167. Codon usage in the beta-tubulin gene is biased, as has been observed for other abundantly expressed N. crassa genes such as am and the H3 and H4 histone genes. This bias results in pyrimidines in the third positions of 96% of the codons in codon families in which there is a choice between purines and pyrimidines in this position. Bias is also evident by the absence of 19 of the 61 sense codons. We demonstrated that benomyl resistance is due to the cloned beta-tubulin gene of strain Bml511(r)a and that this gene can be used as a dominant selectable marker in N. crassa transformation.