Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Stephen Hanley




fungus, mycology, mushroom, gene, protein


The overall goal of this project was to investigate the biological role of a putative metacaspase gene present in the mushroom fungus Schizophyllum commune. For this study, we have utilized a strain of S. commune that is unable to integrate DNA via the non-homologous end joining pathway. This forces transforming DNA to integrate homologously, as is required for the purposes of gene knockout. The gene Scp1 encodes a likely member of the metacaspase protein family, which are suspected to have activity similar to caspases, the latter crucial to programmed cell death. A knockout construct containing a non-functional version of Scp1 was previously generated in our laboratory. This DNA was then transformed into Schizophyllum commune in an attempt to knockout the native Scp1 gene. At present a likely knockout (null) strain has been identified, and analysis by polymerase chain reaction has supported its status as a true knockout. A homozygous null mutant of Scp1 will then be generated, and will be compared to a wild-type strain for any alterations in colony growth and/or mushroom development. The role(s) of other members of the metacaspase family will eventually be examined by a similar approach.