• white collar-1;
  • Cordyceps mushroom;
  • light;
  • albino;
  • degenerate strain


Light is a necessary environmental factor for stroma formation and development of Cordyceps militaris, a well-known edible and medicinal fungus. In this study, photo morphogenesis and the blue-light receptor gene were studied using five representative strains of C. militaris. The results suggest that light was essential for colony pigmentation and could promote conidia production. Cmwc-1, the homologe of the blue-light photoreceptor of Neurospora crassa, was cloned from the genome of C. militaris by Hi-tail PCR. The protein CmWC-1 was characterized by the presence of the LOV and PAS domains and a GATA-type Znf domain. Genetic variation analysis of Cmwc-1 in different strains showed that 15-bp deletions occurred in three strains that resulted in 5-Gln deletions in the transcription activation domain. Phylogenetic analysis based on the Sordariomycetes WC-1-like proteins suggested that the sequence of WC-1 could be used as a candidate marker for phylogenetic analysis in fungi. Cmwc-1 mRNA was light inducible and the expression level increased significantly after irradiation in all tested strains. The sequence of CmWC-1 and the relative expressions responding to irradiation in degenerate and albino strains were similar as the cultivated one. This report will help to open the still-unexplored field of stroma development for this fungus.