We describe the characterization of a gene, Pad-1, from Neurospora crassa which displays sequence characteristics of the RS class of hnRNA-binding proteins (hnRNP) and mRNA splicing factors. This is the first report of the isolation of a putative hnRNP gene from N. crassa. PAD-1 showed 30% identity and 57% similarity to a protein, HCC1, which was isolated using autoantibodies from patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma. Both HCC1 and PAD-1 show amino acid sequence similarities to the human splicing factor, U2AF65. Mutations induced in Pad-1 by repeat-induced point (RIP) mutation show dominant effects on ascus and ascospore formation, a novel phenotypic class of RIP mutants. A mutant isolated from the Pad-1 RIP cross displayed a severe vegetative growth defect and dominant effects on ascus development, indicating that Pad-1 is essential for both asexual and sexual development.
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