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Lett Appl Microbiol. 1999 Dec;29(6):364-9.

The role of the rodlet structure on the physicochemical properties of Aspergillus conidia.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire de Génie de l'Hygiène et des Procédés Alimentaires, Massy, France.


Physico-chemical properties of Aspergillus conidia rely on their outer cell-wall rodlet layer. In A. fumigatus and A. nidulans, the rodlet structure is due to an hydrophobin encoded by homologous rodA genes. To evaluate the role of the rodlet structure on the physico-chemical properties of conidia, we compared hydrophobicity, Lewis acid-base (i.e. electron donor/acceptor) characteristics and electrostatic charge of hydrophobin-less (rodletless) mutant and wild-type conidia of A. fumigatus and A. nidulans. The results obtained by aqueous-solvent partitioning assays, microsphere adhesion assays and microelectrophoresis showed that the disruption of the rodA gene modifies surface properties of A. fumigatus and A. nidulans conidia, and confirmed that the rodlet layer plays a key role in their physico-chemical behaviour. The absence of this layer on A. fumigatus spores led to the appearance of weakly basic and acidic characteristics, and had a slight effect on the hydrophobicity of conidia. Whereas in A. nidulans, it induced a basic character, a marked decrease in hydrophobicity and in the polarization capacity (electronegativity) of conidia. These physico-chemical differences between A. fumigatus and A. nidulans rodletless conidia may be attributed to differences in the composition of the conidial outer cell-wall of the two species.

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