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Arch Microbiol. 2001 Jul;176(1-2):106-13.

Development of a homologous transformation system for the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus based on the sC gene encoding ATP sulfurylase.

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Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología. Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Alcalá, Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona Km 33, 28871 Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain.


The development of a homologous transformation system for the opportunistic human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is described. The system is based on the sC gene encoding ATP sulfurylase. Several A. fumigatus sC mutant strains were readily isolated by strong selection for selenate resistance. The coding region plus upstream and downstream regulatory sequences of the A. fumigatus sC gene were cloned by inverse PCR and then sequenced. Sequencing of the sC cDNA revealed the presence of five introns located within the first half of the gene. The A. fumigatus sC gene encodes a protein of 574 amino acids which is highly similar to ATP sulfurylases from the filamentous fungal species Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus terreus and Penicillium chrysogenum. By contrast, ATP sulfurylases from the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe lack the C-terminal adenosine-5'-phosphosulfate kinase-like domain present in the filamentous fungal orthologues. A 3.8-kb DNA fragment amplified by PCR and containing the sC gene plus 5' and 3' flanking regions was cloned into pUC19 to give the vector pSCFUM. Transformation of two different sC mutant isolates with the plasmid pSCFUM established the functionality of this new homologous transformation system. Molecular analysis of sC+ transformants showed that up to 44% of transformed clones contained one or more copies of the entire plasmid integrated at the sC locus. This result also demonstrates the utility of the sC marker for targeting specific genetic constructs to the A. fumigatus sC locus, facilitating studies of gene regulation and function.

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