Role of AcndtA in cleistothecium formation, osmotic stress response, pigmentation and carbon metabolism of Aspergillus cristatus
Fungal Biol. 2021 Oct;125(10):749-763. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2021.04.009. Epub 2021 May 6.
As the dominant fungus during the fermentation of Fuzhuan brick tea, Aspergillus cristatus is easily induced to undergo a sexual cycle under low-salt stress. However, the underlying regulatory mechanism of sexual reproduction is unclear. Here, we report a P53-like transcription factor AcndtA, which encodes an NDT80 DNA binding protein and regulates fungal reproduction, pigmentation and the stress response. Both insertion and deletion mutants of AcndtA exhibited a complete blockade of cleistothecium formation, and overexpressing AcndtA strains (OE: AcndtA) exhibited significantly reduced cleistothecium production, indicating that AcndtA plays a vital role in sexual development. Osmotic stress tests showed that overexpression of AcndtA had a negative impact on growth and conidia production. Additionally, AcndtA insertion, deletion and overexpression mutants exhibited reduced pigment formation. All the above developmental defects were reversed by the re-introduction of the AcndtA gene in ΔAcndtA. Moreover, the growth of AcndtA mutants in carbon-limited medium was better than that of the WT and OE: AcndtA strains, indicating that AcndtA is involved in carbon metabolism. Transcriptional profiling data showed that AcndtA regulated the expression of several genes related to development, osmotic stress and carbon metabolism.