The GanB Galpha-protein negatively regulates asexual sporulation and plays a positive role in conidial germination in Aspergillus nidulans.
ABSTRACT: We isolated the ganB gene encoding the Galpha-protein homolog from Aspergillus nidulans. To investigate the cellular function of GanB, various mutant strains were isolated. Deletion of constitutively inactive ganB mutants showed conidiation and derepressed brlA expression in a submerged culture. Constitutive activation of GanB caused a reduction in hyphal growth and a severe defect in asexual sporulation. We therefore propose that GanB may negatively regulate asexual sporulation through the BrlA pathway. In addition, deletion or constitutive inactivation of GanB reduced germination rate while constitutive activation led to precocious germination. Furthermore, conidia of a constitutively active mutant could germinate even without carbon source. Taken together, these results indicated that GanB plays a positive role during germination, possibly through carbon source sensing, and negatively regulates asexual conidiation in A. nidulans.
Project description:Heterotrimeric G proteins (G proteins) govern growth, development, and secondary metabolism in various fungi. Here, we characterized ricA, which encodes a putative GDP/GTP exchange factor for G proteins in the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans and the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. In both species, ricA mRNA accumulates during vegetative growth and early developmental phases, but it is not present in spores. The deletion of ricA results in severely impaired colony growth and the total (for A. nidulans) or near (for A. fumigatus) absence of asexual sporulation (conidiation). The overexpression (OE) of the A. fumigatus ricA gene (AfricA) restores growth and conidiation in the ΔAnricA mutant to some extent, indicating partial conservation of RicA function in Aspergillus. A series of double mutant analyses revealed that the removal of RgsA (an RGS protein of the GanB Gα subunit), but not sfgA, flbA, rgsB, or rgsC, restored vegetative growth and conidiation in ΔAnricA. Furthermore, we found that RicA can physically interact with GanB in yeast and in vitro. Moreover, the presence of two copies or OE of pkaA suppresses the profound defects caused by ΔAnricA, indicating that RicA-mediated growth and developmental signaling is primarily through GanB and PkaA in A. nidulans. Despite the lack of conidiation, brlA and vosA mRNAs accumulated to normal levels in the ΔricA mutant. In addition, mutants overexpressing fluG or brlA (OEfluG or OEbrlA) failed to restore development in the ΔAnricA mutant. These findings suggest that the commencement of asexual development requires unknown RicA-mediated signaling input in A. nidulans.
Project description:Growth, development, virulence and secondary metabolism in fungi are governed by heterotrimeric G proteins (G proteins). A G?-like protein called Gib2 has been shown to function as an atypical G? in Gpa1-cAMP signaling in Cryptococcus neoformans. We found that the previously reported CpcB (cross pathway control B) protein is the ortholog of Gib2 in Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus fumigatus. In this report, we further characterize the roles of CpcB in governing growth, development and toxigenesis in the two aspergilli. The deletion of cpcB results in severely impaired cellular growth, delayed spore germination, and defective asexual sporulation (conidiation) in both aspergilli. Moreover, CpcB is necessary for proper expression of the key developmental activator brlA during initiation and progression of conidiation in A. nidulans and A. fumigatus. Somewhat in accordance with the previous study, the absence of cpcB results in the formation of fewer, but not micro-, cleistothecia in A. nidulans in the presence of wild type veA, an essential activator of sexual development. However, the cpcB deletion mutant cleistothecia contain no ascospores, validating that CpcB is required for progression and completion of sexual fruiting including ascosporogenesis. Furthermore, unlike the canonical G?SfaD, CpcB is not needed for the biosynthesis of the mycotoxin sterigmatocystin (ST) as the cpcB null mutant produced reduced amount of ST with unaltered STC gene expression. However, in A. fumigatus, the deletion of cpcB results in the blockage of gliotoxin (GT) production. Further genetic analyses in A. nidulans indicate that CpcB may play a central role in vegetative growth, which might be independent of FadA- and GanB-mediated signaling. A speculative model summarizing the roles of CpcB in conjunction with SfaD in A. nidulans is presented.
Project description:The filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans reproduces asexually through the formation of spores on a multicellular aerial structure, called a conidiophore. A key regulator of asexual development is the TFIIIA-type zinc finger containing transcriptional activator Bristle (BRLA). Besides BRLA, the transcription factor ABAA, which is located downstream of BRLA in the developmental regulation cascade, is necessary to direct later gene expression during sporulation. We isolated a new developmental mutant and identified a leaky brlA mutation and the mutated Saccharomyces cerevisiae cyclin homologue pclA, both contributing to the developmental phenotype of the mutant. pclA was found to be 10-fold transcriptionally upregulated during conidiation, and a pclA deletion strain was reduced three- to fivefold in production of conidia. Expression of pclA was strongly induced by ectopic expression of brlA or abaA under conidiation-suppressing conditions, indicating a direct role for brlA and abaA in pclA regulation. PCLA is homologous to yeast Pcl cyclins, which interact with the Pho85 cyclin-dependent kinase. Although interaction with a PSTAIRE kinase was shown in vivo, PCLA function during sporulation was independent of the A. nidulans Pho85 homologue PHOA. Besides the developmental regulation, pclA expression was cell cycle dependent with peak transcript levels in S phase. Our findings suggest a role for PCLA in mediating cell cycle events during late stages of sporulation.
Project description:Asexual development (conidiation) in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans is governed by orchestrated gene expression. The three key negative regulators of conidiation SfgA, VosA, and NsdD act at different control point in the developmental genetic cascade. Here, we have revealed that NsdD is a key repressor affecting the quantity of asexual spores in Aspergillus. Moreover, nullifying both nsdD and vosA results in abundant formation of the development specific structure conidiophores even at 12 h of liquid culture, and near constitutive activation of conidiation, indicating that acquisition of developmental competence involves the removal of negative regulation exerted by both NsdD and VosA. NsdD's role in repressing conidiation is conserved in other aspergilli, as deleting nsdD causes enhanced and precocious activation of conidiation in Aspergillus fumigatus or Aspergillus flavus. In vivo NsdD-DNA interaction analyses identify three NsdD binding regions in the promoter of the essential activator of conidiation brlA, indicating a direct repressive role of NsdD in conidiation. Importantly, loss of flbC or flbD encoding upstream activators of brlA in the absence of nsdD results in delayed activation of brlA, suggesting distinct positive roles of FlbC and FlbD in conidiation. A genetic model depicting regulation of conidiation in A. nidulans is presented.
Project description:Zymoseptoria tritici is the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch, a devastating fungal disease of wheat which can cause up to 40% yield loss. One of the ways in which Z. tritici spreads in the field is via rain splash-dispersed asexual pycnidiospores, however there is currently limited understanding of the genetic mechanisms governing the development of these propagules. In order to explore whether the existing models for conidiation in ascomycete fungi apply to Z. tritici, homologs to the well-characterized Aspergillus nidulans genes abacus (abaA), bristle (brlA), fluffy B (flbB), fluffy C (flbC), and stunted (stuA) were identified and knocked-out by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Although deletion of the ZtAbaA, ZtBrlA1, and ZtFlbB genes had no apparent effect on Z. tritici asexual sporulation or on pathogenicity, deletion of ZtFlbC or ZtBrlA2 resulted in mutants with reduced pycnidiospore production compared to the parental IPO323 strain. Deletion of ZtStuA gave non-pigmented mutants with altered vegetative growth and eliminated asexual sporulation and pathogenicity. These findings suggest that the well-established A. nidulans model of asexual sporulation is only partially applicable to Z. tritici, and that this pathogen likely uses additional, as yet uncharacterized genes to control asexual sporulation.
Project description:The asexual spore is one of the most crucial factors contributing to the fecundity and fitness of filamentous fungi. Although the developmental activator FluG was shown to be necessary for activation of asexual sporulation (conidiation) and production of the carcinogenic mycotoxin sterigmatocystin (ST) in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, the molecular mechanisms underlying the developmental switch have remained elusive. In this study, we report that the FluG-mediated conidiation in A. nidulans occurs via derepression. Suppressor analyses of fluG led to the identification of the sfgA gene encoding a novel protein with the Gal4-type Zn(II)2Cys6 binuclear cluster DNA-binding motif at the N terminus. Deletion (delta) and 31 other loss-of-function sfgA mutations bypassed the need for fluG in conidiation and production of ST. Moreover, both delta sfgA and delta sfgA delta fluG mutations resulted in identical phenotypes in growth, conidiation, and ST production, indicating that the primary role of FluG is to remove repressive effects imposed by SfgA. In accordance with the proposed regulatory role of SfgA, overexpression of sfgA inhibited conidiation and delayed/reduced expression of conidiation- and ST-specific genes. Genetic analyses demonstrated that SfgA functions downstream of FluG but upstream of transcriptional activators (FlbD, FlbC, FlbB, and BrlA) necessary for normal conidiation.
Project description:The opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus produces a large quantity of asexual spores (conidia), which are the primary agent causing invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients. We investigated the mechanisms controlling asexual sporulation (conidiation) in A. fumigatus via examining functions of four key regulators, GpaA (Galpha), AfFlbA (RGS), AfFluG, and AfBrlA, previously studied in Aspergillus nidulans. Expression analyses of gpaA, AfflbA, AffluG, AfbrlA, and AfwetA throughout the life cycle of A. fumigatus revealed that, while transcripts of AfflbA and AffluG accumulate constantly, the latter two downstream developmental regulators are specifically expressed during conidiation. Both loss-of-function AfflbA and dominant activating GpaA(Q204L) mutations resulted in reduced conidiation with increased hyphal proliferation, indicating that GpaA signaling activates vegetative growth while inhibiting conidiation. As GpaA is the primary target of AfFlbA, the dominant interfering GpaA(G203R) mutation suppressed reduced conidiation caused by loss of AfflbA function. These results corroborate the hypothesis that functions of G proteins and RGSs are conserved in aspergilli. We then examined functions of the two major developmental activators AfFluG and AfBrlA. While deletion of AfbrlA eliminated conidiation completely, null mutation of AffluG did not cause severe alterations in A. fumigatus sporulation in air-exposed culture, implying that, whereas the two aspergilli may have a common key downstream developmental activator, upstream mechanisms activating brlA may be distinct. Finally, both AffluG and AfflbA mutants showed reduced conidiation and delayed expression of AfbrlA in synchronized developmental induction, indicating that these upstream regulators contribute to the proper progression of conidiation.
Project description:Asexual development (conidiation) of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans occurs via balanced activities of multiple positive and negative regulators. For instance, FluG (+) and SfgA (-) govern upstream regulation of the developmental switch, and BrlA (+) and VosA (-) control the progression and completion of conidiation. To identify negative regulators of conidiation downstream of FluG-SfgA, we carried out multicopy genetic screens using sfgA deletion strains. After visually screening >100,000 colonies, we isolated 61 transformants exhibiting reduced conidiation. Responsible genes were identified as AN3152 (nsdD), AN7507, AN2009, AN1652, AN5833, and AN9141. Importantly, nsdD, a key activator of sexual reproduction, was present in 10 independent transformants. Furthermore, deletion, overexpression, and double-mutant analyses of individual genes have led to the conclusion that, of the six genes, only nsdD functions in the FluG-activated conidiation pathway. The deletion of nsdD bypassed the need for fluG and flbA?flbE, but not brlA or abaA, in conidiation, and partially restored production of the mycotoxin sterigmatocystin (ST) in the ?fluG, ?flbA, and ?flbB mutants, suggesting that NsdD is positioned between FLBs and BrlA in A. nidulans. Nullifying nsdD caused formation of conidiophores in liquid submerged cultures, where wild-type strains do not develop. Moreover, the removal of both nsdD and vosA resulted in even more abundant development of conidiophores in liquid submerged cultures and high-level accumulation of brlA messenger (m)RNA even at 16 hr of vegetative growth. Collectively, NsdD is a key negative regulator of conidiation and likely exerts its repressive role via downregulating brlA.
Project description:Aspergillus nidulans asexual sporulation (conidiation) is triggered by different environmental signals and involves the differentiation of specialized structures called conidiophores. The elimination of genes flbA-E, fluG, and tmpA results in a fluffy phenotype characterized by delayed conidiophore development and decreased expression of the conidiation essential gene brlA. While flbA-E encode regulatory proteins, fluG and tmpA encode enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of independent signals needed for normal conidiation. Here we identify afeA and tmpB as new genes encoding members the adenylate-forming enzyme superfamily, whose inactivation cause different fluffy phenotypes and decreased conidiation and brlA expression. AfeA is most similar to unknown function coumarate ligase-like (4CL-Lk) enzymes and consistent with this, a K544N active site modification eliminates AfeA function. TmpB, identified previously as a larger homolog of the oxidoreductase TmpA, contains a NRPS-type adenylation domain. A high degree of synteny in the afeA-tmpA and tmpB regions in the Aspergilli suggests that these genes are part of conserved gene clusters. afeA, tmpA, and tmpB double and triple mutant analysis as well as afeA overexpression experiments indicate that TmpA and AfeA act in the same conidiation pathway, with TmpB acting in a different pathway. Fluorescent protein tagging shows that functional versions of AfeA are localized in lipid bodies and the plasma membrane, while TmpA and TmpB are localized at the plasma membrane. We propose that AfeA participates in the biosynthesis of an acylated compound, either a p-cuomaryl type or a fatty acid compound, which might be oxidized by TmpA and/or TmpB, while TmpB adenylation domain would be involved in the activation of a hydrophobic amino acid, which in turn would be oxidized by the TmpB oxidoreductase domain. Both, AfeA-TmpA and TmpB signals are involved in self-communication and reproduction in A. nidulans.
Project description:The Aspergillus nidulans wetA gene is required for synthesis of cell wall layers that make asexual spores (conidia) impermeable. In wetA mutant strains, conidia take up water and autolyze rather than undergoing the final stages of maturation. wetA is activated during conidiogenesis by sequential expression of the brlA and abaA regulatory genes. To determine whether wetA regulates expression of other sporulation-specific genes, its coding region was fused to a nutritionally regulated promoter that permits gene activation in vegetative cells (hyphae) under conditions that suppress conidiation. Expression of wetA in hyphae inhibited growth and caused excessive branching. It did not lead to activation of brlA or abaA but did cause accumulation of transcripts from genes that are normally expressed specifically during the late stages of conidiation and whose mRNAs are stored in mature spores. Thus, wetA directly or indirectly regulates expression of some spore-specific genes. At least one gene (wA), whose mRNA does not occur in spores but rather accumulates in the sporogenous phialide cells, was activated by wetA, suggesting that wetA may have a regulatory function in these cells as well as in spores. We propose that wetA is responsible for activating a set of genes whose products make up the final two conidial wall layers or direct their assembly and through this activity is responsible for acquisition of spore dormancy.