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J Microbiol. 2006 Apr;44(2):145-54.

Heterotrimeric G protein signaling and RGSs in Aspergillus nidulans.

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  • 1Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Heterotrimeric G proteins (G proteins) are conserved in all eukaryotes and are crucial components sensing and relaying external cues into the cells to elicit appropriate physiological and biochemical responses. Basic units of the heterotrimeric G protein signaling system include a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), a G protein composed of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits, and variety of effectors. Sequential sensitization and activation of these G protein elements translates external signals into gene expression changes, resulting in appropriate cellular behaviors. Regulators of G protein signaling (RGSs) constitute a crucial element of appropriate control of the intensity and duration of G protein signaling. For the past decade, G protein signaling and its regulation have been intensively studied in a number of model and/or pathogenic fungi and outcomes of the studies provided better understanding on the upstream regulation of vegetative growth, mating, development, virulence/pathogenicity establishment, and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in fungi. This review focuses on the characteristics of the basic upstream G protein components and RGS proteins, and their roles controlling various aspects of biological processes in the model filamentous ascomycete fungus Aspergillus nidulans. In particular, their functions in controlling hyphal proliferation, asexual spore formation, sexual fruiting, and the mycotoxin sterigmatocystin production are discussed.

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