The final stages of gamete interaction in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii occur between the specialized plasma membrane organelles (mating structures) of opposite mating-type cells. A number of mutants affecting these interactions have been obtained in several laboratories; all have been defined as fusion-defective. This paper demonstrates that there are at least two genetically definable stages of mating-structure interaction: (1) the recognition/adhesion of mating structures, and (2) gamete fusion. The possibility that these two functions, the adhesion and subsequent fusion of mating structures, may be mating-type specific is raised, since of the seven independently isolated mutants analysed, all mutants defective in fusion are of mating-type (-), and only mating type (+) mutants show defects in adhesion.

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