Transcriptomic, Protein-DNA Interaction, and Metabolomic Studies of VosA, VelB, and WetA in Aspergillus nidulans Asexual Spores.

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Transcriptomic, Protein-DNA Interaction, and Metabolomic Studies of VosA, VelB, and WetA in Aspergillus nidulans Asexual Spores.

mBio. 2021 Feb 09;12(1):

Authors: Wu MY, Mead ME, Lee MK, Neuhaus GF, Adpressa DA, Martien JI, Son YE, Moon H, Amador-Noguez D, Han KH, Rokas A, Loesgen S, Yu JH, Park HS

In filamentous fungi, asexual development involves cellular differentiation and metabolic remodeling leading to the formation of intact asexual spores. The development of asexual spores (conidia) in Aspergillus is precisely coordinated by multiple transcription factors (TFs), including VosA, VelB, and WetA. Notably, these three TFs are essential for the structural and metabolic integrity, i.e., proper maturation, of conidia in the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans To gain mechanistic insight into the complex regulatory and interdependent roles of these TFs in asexual sporogenesis, we carried out multi-omics studies on the transcriptome, protein-DNA interactions, and primary and secondary metabolism employing A. nidulans conidia. RNA sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analyses have revealed that the three TFs directly or indirectly regulate the expression of genes associated with heterotrimeric G-protein signal transduction, mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, spore wall formation and structural integrity, asexual development, and primary/secondary metabolism. In addition, metabolomics analyses of wild-type and individual mutant conidia indicate that these three TFs regulate a diverse array of primary metabolites, including those in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, certain amino acids, and trehalose, and secondary metabolites such as sterigmatocystin, emericellamide, austinol, and dehydroaustinol. In summary, WetA, VosA, and VelB play interdependent, overlapping, and distinct roles in governing morphological development and primary/secondary metabolic remodeling in Aspergillus conidia, leading to the production of vital conidia suitable for fungal proliferation and dissemination.IMPORTANCE Filamentous fungi produce a vast number of asexual spores that act as efficient propagules. Due to their infectious and/or allergenic nature, fungal spores affect our daily life. Aspergillus species produce asexual spores called conidia; their formation involves morphological development and metabolic changes, and the associated regulatory systems are coordinated by multiple transcription factors (TFs). To understand the underlying global regulatory programs and cellular outcomes associated with conidium formation, genomic and metabolomic analyses were performed in the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans Our results show that the fungus-specific WetA/VosA/VelB TFs govern the coordination of morphological and chemical developments during sporogenesis. The results of this study provide insights into the interdependent, overlapping, or distinct genetic regulatory networks necessary to produce intact asexual spores. The findings are relevant for other Aspergillus species such as the major human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus and the aflatoxin producer Aspergillus flavus.

PMID: 33563821 [PubMed – in process]

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