The mechanisms used by fungal cells to repair DNA damage have been subjects of intensive investigation for almost 50 years. As a result, the model yeasts Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have led the way in yielding critical insights into the nature of the DNA damage response. At the same time, largely through the efforts of Etta Kafer, Hirokazu Inoue, and colleagues, a substantial collection of Aspergillus nidulans and Neurospora crassa DNA repair mutants has been identified and characterized in detail. As the analysis of these mutants continues and increasing amounts of annotated genome sequence become available, it is becoming readily apparent that the DNA damage response of filamentous fungi possesses several features that distinguish it from the model yeasts. These features are emphasized in this review, which describes the genes, regulatory networks, and processes that compose the fungal DNA damage response. Further characterization of this response will likely yield general insights that are applicable to animals and plants. Moreover, it may also become evident that the DNA damage response can be manipulated to control fungal growth.
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