Insight into the genome of Aspergillus fumigatus: analysis of a 922 kb region encompassing the nitrate assimilation gene cluster.
ABSTRACT Aspergillus fumigatus is the most ubiquitous opportunistic filamentous fungal pathogen of human. As an initial step toward sequencing the entire genome of A. fumigatus, which is estimated to be approximately 30 Mb in size, we have sequenced a 922 kb region, contained within 16 overlapping bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones. Fifty-four percent of the DNA is predicted to be coding with 341 putative protein coding genes. Functional classification of the proteins showed the presence of a higher proportion of enzymes and membrane transporters when compared to those of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition to the nitrate assimilation gene cluster, the quinate utilisation gene cluster is also present on this 922 kb genomic sequence. We observed large scale synteny between A. fumigatus and Aspergillus nidulans by comparing this sequence to the A. nidulans genetic map of linkage group VIII.
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ABSTRACT: In yeast cells such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins has been found to be increased and correlates with a concomitant elevation in azole drug resistance. Here, we investigate the roles of two Aspergillus fumigatus proteins that share high sequence similarity with S. cerevisiae Pdr5, an ABC transporter protein that is commonly overproduced in azole resistant isolates in this yeast. The two A. fumigatus genes encoding the ABC transporters sharing the highest sequence similarity to Sc Pdr5 are called abcA and abcB here. We constructed deletion alleles of these two different ABC transporter-encoding genes in three different strains of A. fumigatus. Loss of abcB invariably elicited increased azole susceptibility while abcA disruption alleles had variable phenotype. Specific antibodies were raised to both abcA and abcB proteins. These antisera allowed detection of abcB in wild-type cells while abcA could only be visualized when overproduced from the hspA promoter in A. fumigatus. Overproduction of abcA also exhibited increased azole resistance. Green fluorescent protein fusions were used to provide evidence that both abcA and abcB are localized to the plasma membrane in A. fumigatus. Promoter fusions to firefly luciferase suggested that expression of both ABC transporter-encoding genes are inducible by azole challenge. Virulence assays implicated abcB as a possible factor required for normal pathogenesis. This work provides important new insights into the physiological roles of ABC transporters in this major fungal pathogen.Eukaryotic Cell 10/2013; · 3.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Conidiogenesis is the primary process for asexual reproduction in filamentous fungi. As the conidia resulting from the conidiogenesis process are primarily disseminated via air currents and/or water, an outstanding question has been how fungi recognize aerial environments suitable for conidial development. In this study, we documented the somewhat complex development of the conidia-bearing structures, termed conidiophores, from several Aspergillus species in a subsurface (gel-phase) layer of solid media. A subset of the isolates studied was able to develop conidiophores in a gel-phase environment, but exposure to the aeriform environment was required for the terminal developmental transition from phialide cells to conidia. The remaining Aspergilli could not initiate the conidiogenesis process until they were exposed to the aeriform environment. Our observations of conidiophore development in high or low oxygen conditions in both aeriform and gel-phase environments revealed that oxygen and the aeriform state are positive environmental factors for inducing conidiogenesis in most of the aspergilli tested in this study. Transcriptional analysis using A. fumigatus strain AF293 confined to either the aeriform or gel-phase environments revealed that expression of a key regulatory gene for conidiophore development (AfubrlA) is facilitated by oxygen while expression of another regulatory gene controlling conidia formation from phialides (AfuabaA) was repressed regardless of oxygen levels in the gel-embedded environment. Furthermore, by comparing the developmental behavior of conidiation-defective mutants lacking genes controlling various regulatory checkpoints throughout the conidiogenesis pathway, we propose that this aerial response by the fungus requires both oxygen and the phase transition (solid to aeriform), with these environmental signals integrating into the upstream regulatory pathway and central regulatory pathway of conidiogenesis, respectively. Our findings provide not only novel insight into how fungi respond to an aerial environment to trigger development for airborne conidia production but also the relationship between environmental factors and conidiogenesis regulation in aspergilli.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e74805. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In polymicrobial infections, microbes can interact with both the host immune system and one another through direct contact or the secretion of metabolites, affecting disease progression and treatment options. The thick mucus in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis is highly susceptible to polymicrobial infections by opportunistic pathogens, including the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Unravelling the hidden molecular interactions within such polymicrobial communities and their metabolic exchange processes will require effective enabling technologies applied to model systems. In the present study, MALDI-TOF and MALDI-FT-ICR imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) combined with MS/MS networking were used to provide insight into the interkingdom interaction between P. aeruginosa and A. fumigatus at the molecular level. The combination of these technologies enabled the visualization and identification of metabolites secreted by these microorganisms grown on agar. A complex molecular interplay was revealed involving suppression, increased production, and biotransformation of a range of metabolites. Of particular interest is the observation that P. aeruginosa phenazine metabolites were converted by A. fumigatus into other chemical entities with alternative properties, including enhanced toxicities and the ability to induce fungal siderophores. This work highlights the capabilities of MALDI-IMS and MS/MS network analysis to study interkingdom interactions and provides insight into the complex nature of polymicrobial metabolic exchange and biotransformations.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2012; 109(34):13811-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor