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J Bacteriol. 2001 Oct;183(20):5826-33.

Role of glutamine synthetase in nitrogen metabolite repression in Aspergillus nidulans.

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


Glutamine synthetase (GS), EC, is a central enzyme in the assimilation of nitrogen and the biosynthesis of glutamine. We have isolated the Aspergillus nidulans glnA gene encoding GS and have shown that glnA encodes a highly expressed but not highly regulated mRNA. Inactivation of glnA results in an absolute glutamine requirement, indicating that GS is responsible for the synthesis of this essential amino acid. Even when supplemented with high levels of glutamine, strains lacking a functional glnA gene have an inhibited morphology, and a wide range of compounds have been shown to interfere with repair of the glutamine auxotrophy. Heterologous expression of the prokaryotic Anabaena glnA gene from the A. nidulans alcA promoter allowed full complementation of the A. nidulans glnADelta mutation. However, the A. nidulans fluG gene, which encodes a protein with similarity to prokaryotic GS, did not replace A. nidulans glnA function when similarly expressed. Our studies with the glnADelta mutant confirm that glutamine, and not GS, is the key effector of nitrogen metabolite repression. Additionally, ammonium and its immediate product glutamate may also act directly to signal nitrogen sufficiency.

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