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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Dec;38(5):1034-47.

The abaA homologue of Penicillium marneffei participates in two developmental programmes: conidiation and dimorphic growth.

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Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3010.


Penicillium marneffei is the only known species of its genus that is dimorphic. At 25 degrees C, P. marneffei exhibits true filamentous growth and undergoes asexual development producing spores borne on complex structures called conidiophores. At 37 degrees C, P. marneffei undergoes a dimorphic transition to produce uninucleate yeast cells that divide by fission. We have cloned a homologue of the Aspergillus nidulans abaA gene encoding an ATTS/TEA DNA-binding domain transcriptional regulator and shown that it is involved in both these developmental programs. Targeted deletion of abaA blocks asexual development at 25 degrees C before spore production, resulting in aberrant conidiophores with reiterated terminal cells. At 37 degrees C, the abaA deletion strain fails to switch correctly from multinucleate filamentous to uninucleate yeast cells. Both the transitional hyphal cells, which produce the yeast cells, and the yeast cells themselves contain multiple nuclei. Expression of the abaA gene is activated during both conidiation and the hyphal-yeast switch. Interestingly, the abaA gene of the filamentous monomorphic fungus A. nidulans can complement both conidiation and dimorphic switching defects in the P. marneffei abaA mutant. In addition, ectopic overexpression of abaA results in anucleate yeast cells and multinucleate vegetative filamentous cells. These data suggest that abaA regulates cell cycle events and morphogenesis in two distinct developmental programmes.

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