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J Biochem. 2000 Mar;127(3):359-66.

Evidence that the Aspergillus nidulans class I and class II chitin synthase genes, chsC and chsA, share critical roles in hyphal wall integrity and conidiophore development.

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Department of Biotechnology, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan.


Although many chitin synthase genes have been identified in a broad range of fungal species, there have been only a few reports about their role in fungal morphogenesis. In most cases, single gene disruption or replacement did not reveal their function, possibly because of functional redundancy among them. We obtained null mutants of Aspergillus nidulans chsA and chsC genes encoding non-essential class II and class I chitin synthases, respectively. The DeltachsA DeltachsC mutant exhibited growth defects on media supplemented with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), high concentration of salts, chitin-binding dyes, or chitin synthase competitive inhibitors, suggesting loss of integrity of hyphal wall. Moreover, remarkable abnormalities of the double mutant were observed microscopically during its asexual development. The conidiophore population was drastically reduced. Interestingly, secondary conidiophores were occasionally produced from vesicles of the primary ones. The morphology of these conidiophores was similar to those of the A. nidulans developmental mutants, medusa (medA), abacus (abaA), and some kinds of bristle (brlA). In situ staining patterns suggested that chsA was mainly expressed in the metulae, phialides, and conidia, whereas chsC was expressed in hyphae as well as conidiophores. These results suggest that ChsA and ChsC share critical functions in hyphal wall integrity and differentiation.

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