Homeobox proteins are essential for fungal differentiation and secondary metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Homeobox proteins are essential for fungal differentiation and secondary metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans.

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 08;10(1):6094

Authors: Son SH, Son YE, Cho HJ, Chen W, Lee MK, Kim LH, Han DM, Park HS

Abstract
The homeobox domain-containing transcription factors play an important role in the growth, development, and secondary metabolism in fungi and other eukaryotes. In this study, we characterized the roles of the genes coding for homeobox-type proteins in the model organism Aspergillus nidulans. To examine their roles in A. nidulans, the deletion mutant strains for each gene coding for homeobox-type protein were generated, and their phenotypes were examined. Phenotypic analyses revealed that two homeobox proteins, HbxA and HbxB, were required for conidia production. Deletion of hbxA caused abnormal conidiophore production, decreased the number of conidia in both light and dark conditions, and decreased the size of cleistothecia structures. Overexpressing hbxA enhanced the production of asexual spores and formation of conidiophore under the liquid submerged conditions. The hbxB deletion mutant strains exhibited decreased asexual spore production but increased cleistothecia production. The absence of hbxB decreased the trehalose content in asexual spores and increased their sensitivity against thermal and oxidative stresses. The ΔhbxA strains produced more sterigmatocystin, which was decreased in the ΔhbxB strain. Overall, our results show that HbxA and HbxB play crucial roles in the differentiation and secondary metabolism of the fungus A. nidulans.

PMID: 32269291 [PubMed – in process]

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