Home • Coprinellus micaceus FP101781 v2.0
Photo: Laszlo Nagy
Photo: Laszlo Nagy

The genome of Coprinellus micaceus has been sequenced under the auspices of the 1000 Fungal Genomes Project. It represents the second sequenced species in the family Psathyrellaceae, which contains the important model fungus Coprinopsis cinerea as well as other, lesser known model species such as Coprinopsis radiata, Coprinellus congregatus or Coprinellus domesticus. Being the closest sequenced relative of Coprinopsis cinerea, the C. micaceus genome will be an important resource in extending findings made on the former species to a wider phylogenetic context.

Coprinellus and Coprinopsis belong to the previous Coprinus sensu lato genus, which is known widely by their autodigesting fruiting bodies, referred to by the common name ‘inky caps’. These species use chitinases to digest maturing cap tissues into a black liquid to facilitate spore dispersal. Interestingly, inky caps have been switching frequently back and forth between auto digesting and non-autodigesting fruiting body types over the last 100 million years. The high frequency of these transitions suggests the presence of an easily mutable developmental program that can quickly respond to changing environmental challenges.

Species of Psathyrellaceae play important roles in terrestrial ecosystems as litter decomposers, they degrade non-woody organic materials and thus contribute to global carbon cycling. They are often the first basidiomycete colonizers in the litter-decomposer niche. Together with Psathyrella macrescibilis, another species that has been sequenced at JGI, the Coprinellus micaceus and Coprinopsis cinerea genomes will form an exceptional resource to explore the stereotypical litter-decomposer genomic toolkit.

Genome Reference(s)


Nagy LG, Házi J, Szappanos B, Kocsubé S, Bálint B, Rákhely G, Vágvölgyi C, Papp T. The evolution of defense mechanisms correlate with the explosive diversification of autodigesting Coprinellus mushrooms (Agaricales, Fungi). Syst Biol. 2012 Jul;61(4):595-607.

Nagy LG, Walther G, Házi J, Vágvölgyi C, Papp T. Understanding the evolutionary processes of fungal fruiting bodies: correlated evolution and divergence times in the Psathyrellaceae. Syst Biol. 2011 May;60(3):303-17.

Nagy LG, Urban A, Orstadius L, Papp T, Larsson E, Vágvölgyi C. The evolution of autodigestion in the mushroom family Psathyrellaceae (Agaricales) inferred from Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2010 Dec;57(3):1037-48.